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Battle lines drawn in Awase land reclamation project

Date Posted: 2005-08-17

Okinawa City wants to transform a stretch of Awase’s wetlands into a commercial development project to spawn jobs and business.

Opponents want the lands of Awase Bay to remain as tidelands.

The two positions are a world apart, and protests, demonstrations and meetings are already bombarding the Okinawa General Bureau, which is involved with project oversight. The construction was well under way by last year, but was ordered stopped in April. Already, a new bridge to the area has been built, and a road is under construction.

Opponents say they’re ready to take the case to court, if need be, since work resumed earlier this week.

Okinawa City Mayor Masakazu Nakasone, together with several directors on the pro-development side, say “we are all for welcoming the construction, and want it done quickly to give jobs to a lot of people.” He says he hopes protesters don’t block progress, because “I hope the work goes smoothly and quickly.”

Opponents are demanding “reclamation work be stopped. It is against the law, and we will take you to court and win!”

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