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Environmental Agency urges protection of dugong

Date Posted: 2003-01-10

In a report to Okinawa Prefectural Government, the Government Environmental Agency of Japan is urging the prefecture officials to exercise great caution as the construction work on the new heliport to replace the MCAS Futenma commences on the ocean off Camp Schwab. The area is known to be the main habitat of dugongs in Okinawa and the northernmost site the animals exist anywhere in the world.

The agency has concluded that the area where the heliport is planned is the main growing are of a specific seaweed dugongs feed upon. The Environmental Agency has no powers to stop the construction, but it can give guidance to Okinawa Prefecture Governor Keiichi Inamine who can decide what kind of restrictions, if any, there will be constructing the facility.

The preliminary work for the construction is scheduled to begin coming summer, and the Japan Self Defense Agency that will oversee the construction is ready to start the bidding process for the work.

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