Japan's southern islands of Amami Oshima, Tokunoshima and Iriomote, as well as the Yanbaru Region in the north of Okinawa Island, became Japan's newest UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in July 2021. They are Japan's 5th Natural World Heritage Site.

The areas are all found in the subtropical Nansei island chain that runs between Kyushu and Taiwan and is part of Okinawa and Kagoshima prefectures. The islands have been separated from the continent and other landmasses for millions of years, and therefore harbor a significant number of endemic and rare animals and plants, including the Iriomote leopard cat, the Amami rabbit and the Okinawa rail.

The areas added: