Recent global attention on the topic of in situ conservation has resulted in various efforts to protect germplasm in its natural habitat. Red data books devoted to various species and habitats in Japan have been prepared (e.g., Japan Society of Plant Taxono-mists,12 NACS-Japan and WWF-Japan13). The topic of in situ conservation is at present in the inventory phase, and measures to actually conserve germplasm in situ are beyond the ability of the genebank manager since these involve social and political decisions.
The MAFF genebanks' role in in situ conservation has been devoted to research, both within Japan and internationally. In recent years, Japan has conducted in situ conservation research with scientists in Chile on tomato wild relatives, the Philippines on sweet potato and Vietnam on rice. Currently, collaboration with Nepal on in situ conservation of buckwheat genetic resources is in progress.
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