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Website shows future landscapes of Japan's 47 prefectures as altered by climate change

This graphic provided by WWF Japan shows a future image of a climate-change affected Nagano Prefecture in central Japan, based on predictions by the organization.

TOKYO -- A skier sliding down a snowless, grassy hill in Nagano Prefecture and Tokyo Skytree half submerged in water -- these are just some of the graphics showing what areas across Japan could be like at the end of the century if global warming continues unabated.

    The images, which have been revealed on a website for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Japan, an environmental NGO, are designed to get people to pay more attention to climate change and feel it is an issue with relevance to their daily lives. The WWF Japan launched website "Future 47 views" (https://www.wwf.or.jp/campaign/mirai47kei/) to show, based on its predictions, what future landscapes in all 47 of Japan's prefectures will look like.

    On the page demonstrating Nagano Prefecture's predicted future scenery, a description reads, "Winter so hot ski grounds will melt away!?" It goes on to say annual average temperature in the prefecture, which is known for its alpine scenery, are estimated to see a climate-change fuelled rise of about 5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. The graphic shows a skier gliding down a green slope stripped of any snow, and communicates the threat from a potential change to the Nagano landscape.

    The page goes on to read, "If the winter snowfall period shortens, Nagano's winter landscape will also be changed completely from what it's like today. To be able to keep enjoying winter sports in Nagano for a long time, and to keep its ski resorts as scenes for great spectacles, it is absolutely necessary that each and every one of us engage in tackling the climate crisis."

    A representative of WWF Japan commented, "I'd like people to know that climate change is capable of affecting even the scenery of one's beloved home prefecture, and that they should view the issue as their problem, too. I think that there are many people out there who have had opportunity to reflect on their way of life because of the coronavirus pandemic. I'd like them to project the images from our website onto the familiar landscapes seen in their daily lives, and think about what they can do to avoid such a climate crisis."

    (Japanese original by Kenji Noro, Regional News Department)

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