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An Osaka-based citizens’ group protesting the city’s bid for the 2008 Olympic Games demanded Wednesday that the Cabinet reject the city’s candidacy to host the event.

Representatives from the Osaka Needs No Olympics Citizens’ Union submitted a letter to Education Minister Nobutaka Machimura listing pending issues faced by the city, including environmental and financial problems. “(The city of Osaka) has not yet properly dealt with many problems,” said Yutaka Kuwagaki, director of the group, which consists of about 300 members. “It is reckless for a city in this kind of situation to host the Olympic Games.”

Kuwagaki said the proposed site for Olympic venues — a section of reclaimed land in Osaka Bay — is polluted, containing harmful substances such as dioxin, which is known to cause cancer, and Tributyltin, known to kill sea life near the water’s surface. “The city has just begun taking the environmental issue seriously,” Kuwagaki said. “But it is too late.”

Claiming that Osaka is in a serious financial crisis with accumulated debts totaling nearly 4.5 trillion yen, Kuwagaki stressed that Osaka cannot afford to host the event. To openly discuss such issues with the city government, the group has been holding study sessions with interested citizens and city officials.

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