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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 March 20 - 26  > Environmental NGOs demand immediate halt to Henoko base project and conduct search of remaining dugong
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2019 March 20 - 26 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Environmental NGOs demand immediate halt to Henoko base project and conduct search of remaining dugong

March 21, 2019
Following the news coverage that a dead dugong was found floating in the waters off Okinawa’s Nakijin Village, environmental organizations on March 19 released their statements and comments urging the Abe government to swiftly suspend all works associated with the Henoko base project and conduct a survey to confirm the exact location of the remaining two.

The dead dugong is believed to be one of only three dugongs which used to be observed off the coast of Henoko where the landfill work to construct a new U.S. base is under way.

The Nature Conservation Society in Japan (NACS-J) published its statement addressed to Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and relevant ministers. The statement points out that as the dugong is designated as a natural treasure, it needs to be protected and that the government should find the whereabouts of the remaining two dugongs in order to implement measures to keep them from harm’s way. It also requests the Abe Cabinet to halt any work related to the construction of a U.S. base in Henoko without delay and determine the cause of dugong’s death.

Another nature conservation NGO, Save the Dugong Campaign Center (SDCC), in its statement criticized the Abe government for trying to build a military facility linked to wars while neglecting to make efforts to protect dugongs, one of most endangered mammal species in the world. It continues to state that as Japan proclaims itself to be cultural nation, it is the government responsibility to stop the Henoko base project and assess the current situation of the remaining two dugong.

A representative of a civil group working to protect dugongs, Dugong Network Okinawa, Hosokawa Taro, in his comment said, “The three dugongs disappeared after the Abe government forcibly started the construction work. I think, the base project affected the dugong’s habitat in the sea areas off Henoko.”

Past related articles:
> Signature-collection campaign to designate dugong as prefectural animal initiated [June 8, 2017]
> Nature conservation NGO calls for survey of dugong feeding grounds in Henoko [August 20, 2014]
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