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24 Years of Disputes Over Airport Plans

Date Posted: 2000-09-29

Obstacles continue to pile up against the construction of the new Ishigaki Airport despite the prefecture’s final decision concerning the construction site. The airport has been at a planning stage for 24 years, and has had funds earmarked for its construction in the national budget every year, but still faces opposition by landowners and environmentalists who have managed with various tactics to stall the project.

A meeting held in Ishigaki City yesterday tried to nail down details about the construction that would take account of everyone’s concerns, but the squabbling shows no signs of ending. The latest proposal by the planners suggested that the runway or any other construction at the airport should be a minimum of 200 meters from the nearest shoreline, in order to protect the ocean environment.

However, that did not sit well with local farmers who stand to lose more farmland than originally planned. Other proposals at the meeting concerned noise pollution, impact on the jungle environment and approach routes to the airport. All of them resulted in numerous protests from representatives of various interest groups. The meeting adjourned without any decisions with participants only agreeing to negotiate further, meaning that the future of the new airport is anything but certain.

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