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Citizens win Awase tidelands case against city, prefecture

Date Posted: 2009-10-22

The voices of 516 citizens has been heard by the Naha District Court, which has approved their petition for an injunction against use of public funds for Awase tidelands reclamation and construction work at Nakagusuku harbor.

The high court, led by Chief Justice Yoshinori Kawabe, ruled that “Awase tideland construction work should not use public funds; it is against the law, so we approve the 516 citizens’ opinion which requested an injunction on use of public funds. Until the ruling, it was not against the law for public funds to be used for researching tideland planning review, and cost of salaries. The sentence by Justice Kawabe makes it illegal, along with environmental assessment.

Okinawa City and Okinawa Prefecture have not decided on whether to appeal the court’s decision, saying they must first check the sentence very carefully. The judicial decision goes against Okinawa City’s Mayor, Mitsuo Tomon, who had approved funding for the first construction zone but said she’d study the second zone more carefully. “I understand this is a very severe result, and now I will check the sentence more carefully and discuss with the central government and Prefecture what we can do,” she said. Governor Hirokazu Nakaima says “I feel very unfortunate at the results,” noting “our opinions were not accepted.”

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