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Citizens join opposition to forest road construction

Date Posted: 2009-03-06

The Noguchigera bird’s environment in northern Okinawa will remain relatively safe now, thanks to the opposition party’s foothold in the Prefecture Assembly and citizens’ thinking on the environment.

The Assembly’s domination by opposition parties, who have 25 members to the Liberal Democracy Party’s 22, has demanded deletion of a \210 million line item in the 2009 Prefecture Budget that allocates construction money in the island’s northern forests. A plan established in 2006 called for construction of five roads through the forest, a preserve for the Noguchigera bird. The bird has been designated special natural monument birds.

The Assembly’s six opposition parties have been meeting to review the 2009 budget, where they found the forest line items. With control of the Assembly theirs, opposition politicians say they’ll prevail over Prefecture Policies calling for new development and construction in the forests. Opponents call the work “a burden to the environment,” and note “peoples’ sense is much too high for altering the environment.” They also say “pollution of rivers and the ocean ecology system might be destroyed” by new construction, and say “we don’t want to spend budget money for this construction at all.”

The Prefecture says it will execute a new environmental research plan, using an ¥8.19 million budget. Officials say they’ll also transplant valuable animals and plants with some of the newly allocated money. The Prefecture government had discovered the Noguchigera birds in the area where the five roads were to be constructed, and stopped construction while an investigation was conducted. The Prefecture found 129 “very valuable wild animals and plants inhabiting the area” where roads were planned.

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