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Friday, May 20, 2011
Surveying the waters of 2111
By MARK JARNES
Coral reefs worldwide could face extinction by 2050, according to the World Resources Institute. At this rate, what will our oceans look like in 2111? An exhibition in Tokyo aims to shed light on an issue that could potentially see countless species, not to mention the 500 million people whose livelihoods depend on those reefs, completely wiped out.
"100 Years On: Save Our Oceans!" kicks off June 1 and takes place at the Konica Minolta Plaza in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The two main focal points of the event are coral reefs and manta rays, and the organizers hope to raise public awareness with a program that includes a photo exhibition and talk sessions hosted by celebrity guest speakers.
Former fourth-generation Morning Musume idol Hitomi Yoshizawa and comedian-turned-director Hiroshi Shinagawa will cohost the event. Avid scuba-divers themselves, they will share their own snapshots as they recount their underwater experiences off the coasts of Ishigaki Island and Palau respectively.
A section of the venue will be devoted to coral reefs, where there will be a special screening of "Umihanamushi," which focuses on the microscopic world of coral. The documentary took top prize in the "Nature and Life" division at the 52nd Science and Technology Film/Video Festival. A mini-theater will also be set up to give visitors a sneak peek into the world of manta rays. A special screen will be installed to try to give visitors a realistic view of the giant animals in their natural habitat.
"100 Years On: Save Our Oceans!" runs June 1-20 at the Konica Minolta Plaza in Shinjuku, Tokyo (entrance is free;  3225-5001). For more information, visit www.konicaminolta.jp/plaza.