Residents angered at reclamation of Awase Wetland

Ignoring public criticism, the government has started setting up buoys for a scaffold of ships to reclaim Awase Wetland in Okinawa City, the largest wetland remaining in the Okinawan Islands.

On the morning of October 8, when the cabinet's agency on Okinawa started the work, members of the Liaison Council to Defend Awase Wetland held an emergency rally to protest the suddenly started operation.

The government plans to reclaim 187 hectares of lands of Awase Wetland in Naka-gusuku Bay with a total expenditure of 65 billion yen (540 million dollars), and then construct hotels and artificial beach, and establish a special free trade zone.

The reclamation work has been postponed due to residents' protests and inadequate steps to transplant various special species of flora from on the wetland. However, the government enforced the reclamation project on the pretext that flora will be planted by hand, and that studying the transplanting method has finished.

Residents in the meeting refuted this, saying that the experiment in transplanting has failed due to recent typhoons. The government enforced the destruction plan while advocating the need to safeguard the regional environment, they stressed.

Arakaki Shigenobu, candidate for the Okinawa gubernatorial election, Akamine Seiken, Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives, together with a JCP prefectural assembly member visited the agency, demanding that the reclamation works be immediately stopped.

They also emphasized that the free trade zone plan is completely unnecessary because it will surely fail to attract any companies to operate there. (end)