JCP proposes outline of bill to protect and restore tideland

The Japanese Communist Party Dietmembers Group on October 28 published an outline of the draft bill to protect and restore tidelands and a statement on the proposal.

The statement is summarized as follows:

The importance of bogs and tidelands has been recognized internationally. The Ministry of Environment last year designated 500 bogs and tidelands throughout the country as important sites. The movement calling for their designation as Ramsar sites is increasing.

About 40 percent of the tidelands along Japan's coastline were reclaimed for industrial development in the second half of the 20th century. And yet the Cabinet under Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro is pushing forward with large public works projects, including the Isahaya Bay reclamation which has already been proved to be useless and harmful. All these projects will do nothing but destroy the environment.

The Koizumi Cabinet also plans to establish a new U.S. base on coral reefs in Okinawa's sea and eliminate densely growing marine flora which provide dugongs' feed.

Tidelands and the environment of shallow seas will only die out if they are once damaged by reclamations. It is therefore important to stop destroying them and take urgent measures to restore the damaged areas.

The JCP proposals in the outline of the draft bill are:

1. All tidelands and neighboring shallow sea areas should be preserved as they are;

2. No more reclamations should be allowed, and areas for preservation should be designated so that tidelands are maintained and damaged areas restored;

3. Programs for preservation and restoration should be made by a council in which residents and NGOs are taking part; and,

4. The Minister for the Environment should have greater authority to control reclamation plans. (end)