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Lawmaker demands environment assessment on Henoko project

Date Posted: 2001-05-08

Okinawan Lower House member Mikio Shimoji of the Liberal Democratic Party, announced Tuesday that he would urge the government to enforce conducting an environmental impact assessment before the construction plan for the Henoko heliport is completed. He is also asking the government to postpone the relocation committee meeting scheduled for Friday. Shimoji believes that the meeting will have no other choice but go ahead with the plans and that could cause confusion among local residents.

The government is determined to decide the basic plan by this summer, and to conduct the environmental impact assessment after the method of construction and exact location of the new facility is decided. Shimoji is demanding for a complete assessment considering all alternatives before the final planning. That would mean that the detailed plans would not be possible until a few years from now.

It is quite rare that a LDP member opposes a current government plan. Shimoji said that, “Without clearing all conditions concerning the relocation that the prefecture and Nago City are demanding, we cannot acquire the local residents’ consent.” He also added that the method and location should be examined prudently in the light that precious dugongs allegedly inhabit the area. Shimoji also pointed out that all proposed plans so far require a massive landfill. He suspects that relying extensively on landfill, contractors are aiming to maximize their profits from the relocation process regardless on the projects impact on the environment.

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