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Land rights block progress on new Ishigaki Airport

Date Posted: 2009-02-18

The battle to build a new municipal airport for Ishigaki rages on, with new challenges from land owners who do not want the facility built on their property.

The airport construction plans had appeared to be moving forward, but land owners have renewed their opposition to the site, claiming it’s a bad location. The Prefecture has begun using eminent domain rights to seize the land from recalcitrant land owners, but they’re fighting back with new lawsuits.

Opponents, some of whom are members of the Prevention of Shiraho Ocean Social Association, a group dedicated to protecting the waters around Ishigaki, have gone to Tokyo and told government officials “the airport’s chosen location process is wrong. It needs to be checked very carefully from a natural environment standpoint.” Land owners charge the government has done a sloppy job in assessing the site for airport construction.

Land owners are demanding the courts order Okinawa Prefecture to cancel the construction work. Their lawsuits also ask the courts to reject Prefecture plans to take their land without land owners’ concurrence.

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