The Transport and Construction ministries on Friday gave the green light for reclamation work to begin off Ise Bay in Aichi Prefecture, paving the way for construction of the 770 billion yen Chubu International Airport.

The move came after the Environment Agency’s decision the same day to approve the reclamation plan submitted by Aichi Prefecture, on condition that the impact on the environment be monitored during construction of the airport and beyond.

If at any point during the monitoring environmental damage is seen to occur, steps to address the problem — such as reducing the reclamation area or altering the shape of the reclaimed coastline — must be taken, the agency said.

The airport will be built in Ise Bay roughly 35 km south of Nagoya and is scheduled to open in time for the 2005 Exposition in the city of Seto.

A total of 703 hectares are slated to be reclaimed for the airport as well as another man-made island and a coastal area to be sold for industrial development.

The agency called on the prefecture to reconfirm that there is a need and demand for such industrial properties before the project is completed. The agency also mandates that the reclamation process be carried out in an environmentally sound way, using dirt from dredging rather than carving up mountains and making sure that the dredging does not cause environmental problems.