Seventeen groups issue a statement to seek the environmental protection of Henoko and Oura Bay based on the Ramsar Convention

November 26, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On November 25, 17 Non-Government Organisations focused on the environment, human rights, and peace, released a joint statement against the construction of a new, replacement military facility in Henoko. The statement refers to the Ramsar Convention, asking for the protection of the Henoko Coast and Oura Bay. In October, the secretariat of the Ramsar Convention, which internationally promotes the protection of important wetlands, requested the Ministry of Environment provide information about the environmental impacts of landfill for the military base, and what, if any, countermeasures are being planned for the preservation of Henoko and Oura Bay. The groups asked the ministry to respond sincerely to the request from the secretariat.

In the statement, the groups asked that Oura Bay at Henoko would be recognized as an internationally important wetland based on the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2009-2015. The statement also seeks the protection of vulnerable ecosystems such as coral reefs and seagrass meadows based on Aichi Target Goal 10.

The groups behind the statement include the Ramsar Network Japan, the Nature Conservation Society of Japan, the Wild Bird Society of Japan, the World Wide Fund for Nature Japan, the Okinawa Environmental Network, the Okinawa Peace Network, and the Japan Environmental Lawyers Federation. On the 25th, they sent the statement to the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the Okinawa Prefectural Government, and Nago City.

On October 29, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat requested the Ministry of Environment provide information about the environmental impact assessment and carry out preservative measures on Henoko Coast and Oura Bay. The secretariat also pointed out the importance of protecting coral reef ecosystems and the endangered Okinawan dugong.

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)

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