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Opponents riled as Awase land reclamation resumes

Date Posted: 2007-09-06

A massive land reclamation project in Awase has resumed after stalling for several months because of challenges by environmental and civic groups.
Led by the Committee Group for Preservation of Awase Tidal Wetlands, opponents have been lobbying Okinawa City’s mayor to stop the project outright. “We want you to stop land reclamation construction work,” Union of Labor’s Zenhiro Touyama demanded of Mitsuko Tomon, “and cancel the work right now.” Toyayama told the mayor “if construction work continues, you will hear nothing of citizens’ opinions in your mind.”
Tomon says she has “listened to opinions from every citizen,” and promises to decide this year “what is best for citizens and what is good for Okinawa City. The tidelands preservation group’s Representative Tomo Kobashigawa and Katsuhide Hisaya are urging suspension of the project.
Prefecture Assembly member Masaharu Kina says “Okinawa’s nature is being watched all over the world, and particularly the Awase Tideland problem.” He notes that “even the Japanese government has already begun construction through reclamation, although we didn’t agree yet.” He charges the government action in continuing the project is “nonsense.”

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