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Governor sets deadline for Ishigaki landowners

Date Posted: 2007-08-02

Growing impatient with Ishigaki landowners holding out and refusing to sell land needed for a new airport, Hirokazu Nakaima has issued an ultimatum.

The Okinawa Governor has told the 65 landowners who have not made an agreement to sell their property needed for construction of the new Ishigaki Airport they have until next summer, or else. Already, 75 landowners have made deals with the government, but the others have balked at signing.

“If you guys don’t make a contract, we’ll take action to condemn the land,” a prefecture official says, “and send the paperwork forward. The time limit is already gone.” The new Ishigaki Airport is supposed to be finished in time for a 2012 grand opening, but that timeframe is in doubt because of the land purchase delays. Nakaima’s deadline extension to next year is considered almost a gift to the landowners because of the costly delays it causes.

Work has already begun on the airport construction, but the missing land is making development difficult. The central government has already said it will approve land condemnation requests, but concedes there’s much paperwork involved in the time consuming process. Once a condemnation request is made, it goes to a Land Condemnation Committee, which presents the case to the court, which makes the ultimate decision.

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