Government must concede its second defeat in Isahaya Bay suit -- Akahata editorial, January 13 (excerpts)

The Saga District Court on January 12 rejected the state's demand that the court injunction issued last year to suspend the construction of an inner dike in the Isahaya Bay reclamation project be revoked.

The state has twice failed to win the court trial over the project.

In November 2002, more than 100 fishermen of Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, and Kumamoto Prefectures filed a suit demanding that the state halt the Isahaya Bay reclamation project because it seriously harmed fishery in the Ariake Sea area that includes Isahaya Bay.

In its ruling in August 2004, the district court recognized that fisheries in the bay have been seriously damaged by the state reclamation that contaminated the bay's water, and ordered the state to halt the construction of the inner dike.

The Isahaya Bay reclamation has almost been finished and it is unprecedented for a major public construction project near completion to be ordered to halt.

The government should have accepted the local court judgment and decided to halt the project without making an appeal.

In its latest rejection of the state appeal, the court urged the government to seriously review the reclamation policy.

The state must not appeal to the High Court. It must immediately halt the project, open the dike, and introduce Ariake's sea water into the bay so that the Sea of Ariake will be rehabilitated.

About 250 billion yen has been used for the Isahaya Bay reclamation project, one of Japan's biggest wasteful public projects that only destroys the environment without convincing the public how they are necessary and useful.

What must be reviewed is the state policy giving top priority to major public construction works, including Isahaya's. (end)

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