Man-made island plan draws flak in Osaka

OSAKA — Citizens here are criticizing a proposal to build another man-made island in Osaka Bay, at an estimated cost of 300 billion yen in public funds.

An advisory committee to the Osaka Municipal Government presented the blueprint for the project Feb. 10 to Osaka Mayor Toshifumi Isomura. The committee was surprised at the speed with which the plan was approved.

“It’s unbelievable that the committee approved such an important project at just one meeting, which was closed to the public,” said Isao Hayashi, director of the Association to Eliminate Environmental Pollution in Osaka. According to the city government, the planned 300-hectare man-made island will be reclaimed with 50,000 cu. meters of industrial and domestic waste plus earth and sand accumulated at the mouths of rivers running into Osaka Bay.

The new island will be located 500 meters from the Yumeshima man-made island, which is presently under construction. To make Osaka port more competitive internationally, port facilities, including four 15-meter-deep berths, will be built on the man-made island by early next century. Construction costs are estimated at 300 billion yen.