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Kohama Island citizens spar with land developers

Date Posted: 2010-09-09

It’s a classic case of local residents—this time on tiny Taketomi Town’s Kohama Island located southwest of Okinawa’s mainland—wanting to preserve the old fashion way of live, and is battling real estate developers who they say are ruining their island.

One case is already at trial between a Naha City real estate company and local residents. The developers want to transform the island into a large resort area, building hotels and resort facilities, but local residents are opposing development. The problem for Kohama Island citizens is they’ve no money to wage the battle. The Community Hall director, Katsuo Irikawa, says “I’m going to keep watching the land development activity by myself,” but acknowledges it will be difficult. Taketomi Town, according to the legal brief filed, made a contract with the real estate investment company to rent the island property for 52 years, granting property rights to that company.

Residents say they’ve opposed to the term, and want to erase the 52-years property rights privilege. The developers continue the rental contract is valid between Taketomi Town and them, that they should be allowed to construct new resort facilities. Residents are now looking for money in order to be able to challenge the real estate company in court.

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