The Environment Agency decided Thursday to revive a plan originally articulated three years ago to make Nagoya’s Fujimae tidal flats a special nature reserve, following local authorities’ decision Tuesday not to turn the site into a landfill.

Nagoya’s announcement this week that it will scrap its plan to use the tidal flats as a landfill for the city’s garbage has opened a path for the agency to designate the area a national wildlife sanctuary, and officials say this is the direction in which they plan to head.

Fujimae is known as a wetland of international importance and the most visited site in Japan for migratory birds since Kyushu’s Isahaya Bay was closed off to reclaim 3,000 hectares of wetland in April 1997.

The agency is considering registering Fujimae as a site of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, established in 1971 to promote the protection and wise use of wetlands, as well as using it as an area for the study of wetland ecology and environment education.

If recognized as a wildlife sanctuary, hunting and fishing within the area would be prohibited and if designated as a special preservation zone, reclamation as well as construction of facilities such as factories would be banned. Currently, there are 54 wildlife sanctuaries nationwide.

Officials of Nagoya’s environment projects office said they have not yet been contacted by the agency about the sanctuary plan. Since the landfill plan was just dropped this week, future policy in regard to the tidal flats has yet to be decided, they said.

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