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Minister lends support to Ota, Inamine in court case

Date Posted: 2003-08-22

Yoshiyuki Kamei, the current Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has tossed his support to the former Okinawa Governor, Masahide Ota, and the current Governor, Keiichi Inamine, in their court battle against a residents’ and environmentalists’ group that had taken the former governor to the court and won the case in the lower court. As Ota appealed the case to the Fukuoka High Court, Kamei sent a petition to the court in support of the defendants.

The case stems from a construction of a road in the northern part of the island. The area is designated as a natural preserve and the court found that Ota did not file proper paperwork and procedures when he approved the construction of the road. Because of that, the court handed down a ruling stating that Ota should pay back to the prefecture the cost of the construction totaling ¥328 million.

The presiding judge also found the current governor, Keiichi Inamine, guilty of negligence, as he should have inspected that proper procedures were followed when the construction work was paid.

The Fukuoka High Court will conduct the first hearing of the case on Nov. 18. The plaintiffs are Chosei Tamaki representing the Yambaru Ocean and Nature Preservation Association and other 17 groups that have joined him.

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