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Court hears arguments on Awase tidelands

Date Posted: 2009-08-06

A lawsuit brought by more than 500 Okinawa City residents to block reclamation work at the Awase tidelands was in court this week.

The 516 who filed the suit want the city to stop work on the project, and brought 35 people to the courthouse to make their claims known. The residents’ leader, Tomo Kobashigawa, says the court should make the project end “Not only for economic rationality, but because using public money to destroy nature is a very stupid thing. That’s what the court judgment should say.” The group staged a rally in front of the courthouse, waving a banner declaring ‘Let’s protect the Awase tideland’.

Another proponent of stopping the project, Toichi Kameyama, called for “stopping the killing action which is reclamation of Awase ocean.” Lawyers conceded “overturning the first trial will be difficult, so we have hope.” The first trial argued there was no rationality or economic reason for continuing with the reclamation project.

Supporters, including Okinawa City’s mayor, contend there is. Promotion vice chairman Choken Fukuhara, who favors full reclamation of the area, says “the original trial was not enough explanation of the Okinawa City mayor’s views, but now we’ve made it all clear.” He says the mayor’s office now fully understands and has made its position clear.

The promotion group considers the entire development of the east coast area of Okinawa City as essential to economic growth. Resort Area Development Committee chairman Tomikichi Nakamura promises “this project will bring a lot of employees, and trigger industrial promotion not only for Okinawa City, but for all of Okinawa Prefecture. It will,” he says, “make the big economic promotion plan really work.”

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