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Government defies Saga court ruling in favor of opening the sluice gate


The government on July 10 appealed the Saga District Court decision which ordered the state to open the sluice gate closed in 1989 at the start of the state run Isahaya Bay reclamation project.


In announcing the appeal to a high court, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Wakabayashi Masatoshi said, gThe government cannot comply with the district court order to open the floodgate.h At the same time, he said, gAfter discussing with the environment ministry, we will conduct an environmental impact assessment regarding the possible consequences of opening the floodgate.h


In front of the Fisheries Ministry building in Tokyo, the plaintiffs and their lawyers, who sued the government demanding that the sluice gate be opened, held a sit-in demanding that the government give up on its appeal process and staged a protest urging the government to revoke the decision to appeal the district court ruling ordering the government to open the floodgate immediately.


The June 27, the Saga District Court ruling recognized causal relations between the reclamation project and damage to the fishing industry in the Ariake Sea coastal area. It harshly criticized the government for failing to conduct a long-term assessment by opening the gate. gThis amounts to interfering with the production of evidenceh and gviolating fair and equitable principlesh, and ordered the government to open the sluice gate for research to be conducted over a five-year period.                                                                                - Akahata, July 11, 2008  



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