NEW YORK — An environmental group protesting the land reclamation project at Isahaya Bay in Nagasaki Prefecture is applying pressure on Tokyo by lobbying participants in a United Nations General Assembly session called “Earth Summit Plus Five.”
On June 22, the day before the meeting officially started, the Japan Wetlands Action Network displayed a banner and a large message board in a park near the U.N. building. The board reads: “Prime minister of Japan, (Ryutaro) Hashimoto. Isahaya Bay Land Reclamation Project. Is this what you call sustainable development, breaking (the) Ramsar Convention, Biodiversity Convention, Rio Declaration?”
The group originally planned to display the banner in front of the U.N. building, but was ordered to move to the park by police. “We also plan to distribute leaflets to the participants,” said Tsuyoshi Ikeza, a member of the group. The group also put advertisements in favor of the project in some issues in the Earth Times, a nonprofit tabloid distributed mainly to U.N. officials.
The 3,550-hectare bay is the location of Japan’s largest tidal flats, which are a resting area for various migrant birds and a prime habitat for diverse species of fish and shellfish. In April, the agricultural ministry erected seawalls that cut off Isahaya Bay from the ocean, leaving the animal life there to die a slow death and prompting a nationwide protest.