From: Associated Press
Published May 17, 2005 12:00 AM

Japanese Court Revokes Freeze on Government's Land Reclamation Project

TOKYO — A Japanese court on Monday revoked an earlier order issued to the government to halt a massive land reclamation project in southwestern Japan because it was damaging the environment.


The decision by the Fukuoka High Court will allow the government to resume construction of the project at Isahaya Bay, which critics say is killing wildlife and destroying the local fishing industry.


A lower court ordered a freeze on the project, which aims to reclaim about 700 hectares (1,730 acres) of the bay for farmland and prevent chronic flooding. The order by the Saga District Court last August was an unusual decision against a public works project.


The Agricultural Ministry welcomed the high court's reversal of that ruling, saying it backed the government's claims that there was no scientific evidence linking the project to environmental damage and a decline in the fishing industry.


"Upon receiving this, we will begin procedures to resume construction," the ministry said in a statement.


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The Sierra Club in the United States has appealed to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to halt work on the project, saying it could endanger wildlife in nearby wetlands.


Isahaya Bay is in Nagasaki prefecture (state), about 980 kilometers (600 miles) southwest of Tokyo.


Source: Associated Press


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