June 24, 2003

Support Preservation Activities for Shirane-aoi, an Alpine Plant
—Nippon Paper Industries' Employees Take Part in Planting in Mount Nikko-Shirane—

Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd.

Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd., Japan's leading paper and pulp manufacturing company and the core member of the Nippon Unipac Holding Group, supports the Shirane-aoi Preservation Group (its office located in Katashina-mura; chaired by Ryo Chiaki; with 247 members) which is organized by residents of Katashina-mura of Tone-gun in Gunma Prefecture and students of Oze High School. The employees of the company will take part as volunteers in the planting of Shirane-aoi, the alpine plant which is classified for "NT" (near threatened with respect to becoming extinct), in the forest owned by the company on the west slope of Mount Nikko-Shirane. The planting is scheduled for June 26 (Thursday).
Shirane-aoi (Glaucidium palmatum) is a perennial that grows wild in the mountains in the Chubu region and to the north, as well as in Hokkaido. It used to be common, especially on the slopes of Mount Nikko-Shirane, the mountain that gave Shirane-aoi its name because of the plant's prevalence in the area. However, the plant has suffered with the recent growth in the local deer population, and the number of Shirane-aoi has so diminished that the plant is designated as "NT" in the Red Data Book of Gunma Prefecture. To prevent Shirane-aoi from becoming extinct, the Shirane-aoi Preservation Group was set up in 2000 under the leadership of Oze High School and Katashina-mura in Gunma Prefecture. Preservation activities commenced in the same year.
Nippon Paper Industries introduced the Nippon Paper Industries' Environmental Charter in 1993. The principle of the Charter is to undertake corporate activities that are in harmony with nature. Thus the company has been active in preserving and improving the global environment. Based on this principle, the company-owned forest on the west slope of Mount Nikko-Shirane (in Gunma Prefecture) was opened, to be used as land where Shirane-aoi is to be planted. NP Development Co., Ltd. (President: Ikuo Kuwajima, Kita-ku, Tokyo), a subsidiary of Nippon Paper Industries, has supported the activities of the Shirane-aoi Preservation Group from the beginning.
Nippon Paper Industries has decided to allow its employees to participate in the planting of Shirane-aoi in the mountain with the support of the company, as the company believes it would encourage its employees to be more aware of environment. It will also enable the company to contribute to society through volunteer activities directed at the environment.
Shirane-aoi: [Botanical name: Glaucidium palmatum]
The only variety in the species, the genus and the family. A perennial that grows naturally in damp places in the mountains in the Chubu region and to the north, as well as in Hokkaido. The plants bloom from mid to late June. The flower is purple with a large diameter from 6cm to 10cm (although the part that looks like a petal is actually a calyx).


Mount Nikko-Shirane:
One of the hundred great mountains in Japan. Located on the border of Tochigi and Gunma Prefectures. This is an active volcano with a height of 2,578m above sea level, which contains the dominant peak of the Nikko volcano group. The highest mountain from the Kanto region northward.