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Forest preservation symposium held

Date Posted: 1999-06-05

The planned relocation of seven U.S. military helicopter landing pads and the potential for destruction of some of Okinawa’s most pristine forests in Yanbaru this move would create, were the focus of discussion at a symposium held Monday at a community center in Azuma Village.

Construction at the proposed sites in Yanbaru would affect not only the forest but could destroy habitats for many of Okinawa’s most endangered species, according to the participants, which included residents from Kunigami and Azuma villages.

The relocation of the landing pads is part of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) agreement, which calls for the return of the northern half of the Northern Training Area, presently used by the U.S. military for warfare training.

One of the participants, Sadao Kudaka, said the relocation could threaten more than 500 species and over 20 species of rare creatures found at the proposed sites.

Panelists at the symposium included Sadao Ikehara, professor at the University of the Ryukyus, and noted photographer, Masakazu Kudaka.

During the question and answer period, registration of Yanbaru as a world heritage site was mentioned.

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