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Awase tidelands reclamation project to be restarted

Date Posted: 2011-10-21

After being halted by court actions for nearly two years, a controversial Awase tidelands land reclamation project has been given the green light to be restarted.

The Okinawa General Bureau says the project will resume as quickly as equipment can be put into place, with pre-construction work of setting up six floating lights marking the construction area already put into place last week. The project is to be completed during fiscal year 2016.

The construction involves filling in about 187 hectares as the project first stage continues. The work was interrupted by the Fukuoka High Court’s Naha division following law suits brought by local residents who objected to public funds being used for the project. Local residents objected to the project on economic, environmental protection and disaster prevention grounds, but the latest court rulings rejected their arguments.

Okinawa’s Governor, Hirokazu Nakaima, says he welcomes resumption of the construction, saying “It should be finished fast, and will be a good piece of real estate.” Okinawa City Mayor Mitsuko Tomon agrees, adding “I’m glad we are finally able to take the first steps toward getting this project done.”

The project was adjusted to reduce the land reclamation area to 95 hectares, paving the way for the new approvals. Officials say they do expect some further legal challenges.

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