Kerama Islands and surrounding waters in Okinawa Prefecture has become Japans 31st national park - the first such designation in three decades. In addition surrounding waters shallower than 30 metres will become a marine park
The Kerama Islands are a group of 22 islands located 32 kilometres (20 mi) southwest of Okinawa Island in Japan
The designated area includes 30 islets and reefs, and covers 3,520 hectares of dry land and 94,750 hectares of ocean. It lies 35 kilometres west of Okinawa Main Island and is famous for its rich aquatic environment. It is home to 248 species of coral.
The government will restrict development within the areas, such as the extraction of sand. It also plans to build coral restoration facilities to counter the damage done in the past.