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Coral damage being caused by seabed drilling operations

Date Posted: 2004-12-30

Demonstrators opposed to a new military-civilian airport in Northern Okinawa have brought pre-construction operations to a standstill with their activities.

The Japan Self Defense Naha District Office, meanwhile, is conceding that some coral damage has been caused by the drilling operations. The acknowledgement came in a report to the Okinawa Prefecture.

“There are 34 places where damage of coral has occurred,” the report notes, “but as Self Defense has expected, damages to coral will be less than five percent as we said earlier.” The document notes that they’re continuing the researching, but workers are now changing the methodology. “It’s needed,” one official said.

“The damage was done when we tried to set up the scaffolding, and when we moved it because of the typhoons,” he added.

The Prefecture has acknowledged receipt of the report, and promises to conduct its own independent investigation.

Peace Citizens Union Group Representative Natsume Taira is irritated by the acknowledgement. “Why hasn’t the Self Defense Agency apologized to us? They should. They have to pay for the damage, as well.”

Dudong Environmental Assessment Watch Group representative Takuma Higashionna agrees. “The damages didn’t come from removal of scaffolding. It was the anchors which fastened the research boats to the site.” Higashionna charges that damage is also being caused to the seaweed, and says more damage is certain to be revealed.

Sixty-eight opponents are contesting the construction project. They’re demanding the drilling stop.

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