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Awase land reclamation runs into new opposition

Date Posted: 2005-12-01

Land reclamation in the Nakagusuku area is progressing, but new challenges are being encountered from protesters.

The Okinawa City community is moving ahead with Awase area reclamation efforts, but have run up against new opposition from the Association for Preservation of Awase Tidelands. The group last week began using canoes to disrupt the reclamation work.

Okinawa City officials say the construction work is continuing, but the pace has slowed. Plans are for new earth and sand to be brought in and placed within the week, and to speed up the process. The eleven protesters are using a half-dozen canoes to weave in between the dredging machinery barges, shouting “Let’s keep the Awase area clean.”

Kobashigawa Tomo says “We did agree to protect nature within the area, the same reason we’re opposing the Henoko new heliport construction. It should stop, and our action will be done on the ocean to preserve the area.” Reclamation work began two months ago, and the demonstrators say they’ll never allow the earth and sand to be tossed into the Awase wetlands.

They’re angry the Prefecture will not listen to their opposition, but government officials say they have listened and explained. Opponents say they’ll stand their ground.

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