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Spiritual site blocks plans for Miyakojima crematory

Date Posted: 2008-05-16

A 12-year political struggle to construct a public crematory in Miyakojima City continues to face objections from a woman who claims the chosen spot is “God’s spot that humans can’t use.”

Miyakojima City, which has only a privately owned crematorium, first decided to build a public facility in 1996, but a variety of political and financial issues stalled the project. When Miyakojima City was created in 2005 as a cost-cutting move that merged several municipalities, the project resurfaced and a location was chosen.

Everyone seems to agree the crematory is necessary, but nobody wants the facility in their neighborhood. A decision last December settled on a spot one kilometer from the Oura area, but a God woman respected for her beliefs stepped forward to tell the city not to build on the chosen location. Local residents listened to the woman, and have taken up the call for a new location.

Back to the drawing board, Miyakojima City asked the woman where a good spot was, and she told officials “just move the crematory 200 meters away from the original plan, to the northwest.” City officials say the move would create a land problem, as it doesn’t have rights to the alternate site. Officials are now trying to reason with the woman, asking her to “tell residents the place is good enough.”

City officials say the problem is complicated, because religious beliefs are making it difficult for public agencies to get residents’ attention.

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