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Abandoned cars cause headache for Naha officials

Date Posted: 2002-09-14

Over 300 abandoned cars lie on roadsides and open spaces around Naha City, and city officials are scratching their heads hard to figure out what to do about them. That was also an agenda on the September business meeting of the Naha City Assembly where members demanded that the city change its ordnances to include stiff penalties to those who abandon their junk cars in public places.

Currently, there are rules mandating that the car owners are responsible of taking their junk cars to scrap yards for recycling, but its expensive and the rules have not been enforced. Okinawa Prefecture officials say that they will start enforcing the rules soon, although they do not say exactly when.

At their business meeting the Naha City Assembly passed a resolution calling for removing all junk cars by the end of the year.

According to city ordnances, an abandoned car is not considered general disposable waste, and it’s the owner’s responsibility to get rid of it. City officials now plan to give the owners a written notice that gives them a certain period of time to dispose of the vehicle. If the owner does not follow the notice, he would be fined ¥50,000. Then, if the car still has not been removed after six months, the city would remove it and charge all related costs to the owner. In addition there’s a possibility that the city would bring legal action against the owner.

A spokesman of Naha City Environmental Section says that the only way to make people to abide by the rules is to make it costlier to ignore them. “Without the possibility of severe punishment there’s no incentive for people to take care of this problem,” he said. He added that city officials hope to enact necessary ordnances and start enforcing them as early as in October.

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