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Tag Archives: lawsuits

Okinawa Outreach: Citizens’ Network for Biodiversity in Okinawa demands the suspension of construction of U.S. military helipads in biodiverse Yanbaru Forest

Okinawa Outreach, a new blog edited by Okinawan scholars and activists, offers news, photos, & analysis directly from Okinawa. Its July reports describe efforts by the Citizens’ Network for Biodiversity in Okinawa (Okinawa BD) to obtain answers from the Okinawan Defense Bureau (the Japan Defense Bureau's branch in Okinawa) regarding U.S. military plans for training accident-prone military Osprey aircraft in biodiverse Yanbaru Forest. The Citizens’ Network for Biodiversity in Okinawa demanded a halt to the construction of helipads which the U.S. wants to locate in one of the most well-preserved areas of the forest, a habitat for numerous endangered species unique to northern Okinawa. Okinawa Outreach also provided updates to the Okinawan Defense Bureau's November 2008 legal action against 15 residents of the Takae community (including a child), who, since July 2007, had been conducting a peaceful sit-in protest against the helipad construction on the prefectural road near the construction sites. Many consider this frivolous litigation, a SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) action, intended to intimidate and silence critics). The next hearing is scheduled for the end of August.

“Henoko Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Lawsuit” plaintiffs show dugong video at July 16, 2011 court hearing

After six decades of U.S. military operations in the region, fewer than 50 critically endangered dugongs struggle to survive in Okinawa — once known as the “Galápagos of the East” for its rich biodiversity. Following a 1996 U.S. proposal to destroy Oura Bay, a principal dugong habitat, to make way for massive military construction, environmentalists worldwide turned to legal channels to address the threat to the beloved sea mammal's habitat. In 2003, Okinawan, Japanese and U.S. environmentalists successfully collaborated in a lawsuit seeking to halt the proposal.. In 2008, a U.S. federal judge ruled against the U.S. Department of Defense, requiring it to consider impacts of proposed military construction in Oura Bay on the dugong to avoid or mitigate harm. In response, the U.S. military devised an alternative, yet equally destructive plan, to elude compliance with the court ruling. In turn, 622 plaintiffs — seeking to stop additional U.S. military destruction in Okinawa — initiated another legal action. They brought a class action suit in a Japanese court against the Japanese Defense Bureau's arm in Okinawa, the Okinawan Defense Bureau. Their complaint challenges the legality and scientific validity of the Bureau’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Hideki Yoshikawa, international director of Save the Dugong Campaign Center, reports on the 12th court hearing of the case at Okinawa Outreach, a new blog from Okinawa.

22,000 Plaintiffs bring the third Kadena Noise Suit, largest class action in Japanese court history

22,000 plaintiffs filed what they call the "Third Kadena Noise Suit" yesterday, the anniversary of the signing of The San Francisco Peace Treaty and the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. Their's is the largest class action ever in Japanese court history.