August 3: Okinawa dugong lawsuit dismissed by US federal court

A dugong, designated a natural treasure by the national government: August 3, Kayo Bay, Nago City (photographed from helicopter) 

[Washington D.C.: Special Correspondent Yukiyo Zaha] The dugong lawsuit was filed in order to protect the dugong that is designated an endangered species by US environmental protection groups. It was filed against the US Department of Defense seeking a halt to new base construction at Henoko in Nago City that is part of the relocation of the US military’s Futenma Airbase. On August 2, the lawsuit was dismissed by a US federal court in San Francisco.

Judge Edward Chen ruled in favor of the US government’s arguments that the Department of Defense had given full consideration to the effects on the dugong.
The hearings concluded immediately after the first open session of the lawsuit on June 28, and a decision had been expected within several months.

Peter Galvin of the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) stated that the ruling was very disappointing, and he is deeply concerned that development by the US military will destroy the world’s only remaining dugong habitat.

In regards to the new base construction, Okinawa Prefectural governor Takeshi Onaga has decided to begin procedures to revoke approval for the landfill along the Henoko coast. The Okinawa Defense Bureau has been notified that a hearing for explanation will be held on August 9 (Japan date), and it is possible that this ruling will have an effect on this hearing. [Ryukyu Shimpo electronic edition]