Japanese government ignores Okinawa educational board’s opposition to moving Henoko’s hermit crabs

January 20, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Okinawa Prefectural Education Board has told the Japanese government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs its opposition to capturing and moving Coenobita hermit crabs living at Henoko, Nago. The Defense Ministry’s Okinawa bureau sent a request to the prefectural education board seeking approval to relocate the hermit crabs, designated a natural monument by the national government, in order to construct a new U.S. military base in Henoko. Under the Cultural Properties Protection Law, the prefectural education board must send a written opinion to the head of the Agency of Cultural Affairs.

This was revealed in a document obtained from a freedom-of-information request by Tsuyoshi Kitaueda, a member of the Peace Citizens’ Liaison Committee on January 19.

The prefectural education board indicated in the written opinion that a broad area of natural coast, which is a good habitat for the hermit crabs, would be lost irreversibly by the new base construction. And the board expressed its opposition to changing the current conditions.

However, the Agency for Cultural Affairs does not refer to the prefectural board’s opposition in a document giving its permission to allow the defense bureau to move the hermit crabs.

Kitaueda requested the prefectural board to look into and confirm this matter.

(English translation by T&CT)

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