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Opponents to take

Date Posted: 2003-08-02

Yet another obstacle is being raised against the planned new air station off Camp Hansen in Henoko. Hiroshi Ashitomi, a member of the Committee Against Heliport Transfer, a group opposing the relocation of MCAS Futenma to a location off Henoko, announced that his group would sue the Japanese Self Defense Agency in order to stop the preliminary survey work the agency is engaged in at the proposed site.

“We will sue the Self Defense Agency because they try to start drilling the ocean floor off Henoko without taking into account the existence of endangered dugongs in the area. We need to protect dugong that is a natural monument to which this survey will cause severe damage. This violates laws protecting natural environment and property,” Ashitomi stated.

He also said that his group is planning to require the court to order the Self Defense Agency to pay a fine of ¥200,000 for each day they work in the area.

A representative of the Naha Defense Facilities Administration Bureau said that suing the agency does not make any sense. “Of course we would like to protect dugongs, corals and every other form of natural life in the area. That is the very reason we are conducting the survey,” the official said.

Ashitomi, however, does not want to hear any of that. “We don’t want the agency or anyone else to survey the ocean as that already causes damage to the environment. We want them to stop their activities immediately,” Ashitomi insists.

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