Dugong lawsuit appealed to U.S. High Court

Dugong lawsuit appealed to U.S. High Court

A dugong, a national natural treasure, swims in the waters off coast of Kayo, Nago City, in March 2008.


September 26, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo

Washington Special Correspondent Yukiyo Zaha


On September 24 the plaintiffs in the dugong lawsuit, who requested a stop to construction of the Futenma Replacement Facility in Henoko, Nago City, appealed to the Federal High Court after the San Francisco District Court dismissed an appeal of the lawsuit.


U.S. and Japanese environmental conservation groups brought this case against the United States for the purpose of protecting endangered dugongs. The High Court will soon judge to accept or reject this appeal.


One of the plaintiffs, Peter Galvin of the Center for Biological Diversity issued a statement that said, “This could be the last chance to save the dugong.

The court should compel the U.S. military to follow the law and not wipe out these amazing animals.”


This lawsuit was initiated in 2003 against the U.S. Department of Defense. In February 2015, the district court dismissed the plaintiffs’ request for an injunction raised political questions the court lacked the authority to hear.

In August 2017 the appeal court dismissed the district court’s decision, acknowledged the plaintiff’s claim, and sent the case back to the district court.


However, in August this year after the lawsuit was filed, the first substantive public hearing admitted the U.S. government’s assertion.

Regarding the procedure based on the U.S. National Historic Preservation Act, “The defendants sufficiently considered the influence [of construction] on dugong.”


(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)


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