JCP member of parliament calls for protection of Okinawa's dugongs

A Japanese Communist Party member of parliament called for international support for the effort to protect Okinawa's dugongs from extinction.

Iwasa Emi, JCP member of the House of Councilors, spoke at an Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meeting held on August 30 in parallel with the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.

She reported that the plan to construct an air base with a 2,500-meter runway for the U.S. Marines in the sea off Nago City in Okinawa, the world's northernmost habitat of the sea mammal, will make the already diminishing dugongs, with only a few dozen now surviving, extinct.

She said, "The situation is desperate. I call urgently for further international support for the protection of dugongs."

U.S. Congressman James Greenwood expressed support for the call. A South African MP who chaired the discussion gave a summary report in which he stressed the need for the preservation of species, including dugongs. (end)