A 50 billion yen-plus land reclamation project in Tokyo Bay was postponed for a second time Tuesday amid sea-borne protests by local fishing boat operators, who say the plan will destroy the last haven for gobies and other sea creatures in the metro area.
The five-year project, which will fill the 35-hectare area used for lumber storage in Ariake in Tokyo’s Koto Ward, was scheduled to begin Monday.
But work was delayed when a protest flotilla blocked construction vessels from the site.
“We will hold demonstrations every day, even after the project begins,” vowed Yasutomo Suzuki, a member of a group opposing the reclamation project.
At around 9:30 a.m., 10 fishing boats gathered at a canal connected to the project site and began blaring protests from loudspeakers.
The protesters left the site about one hour later, but construction officials announced that they put off the day’s operation without giving a reason.
“We will cause a commotion every day, so hopefully one day, our appeal will reach the ears of Gov. Shintaro Ishihara,” Suzuki said.
According to metro officials, the reclamation project is part of a plan to develop Tokyo’s waterfront area. It will create a residential and commercial complex housing about 9,000 people.
However, the project has met strong opposition from local fishing operators and others who say the boom yard, rich in plankton and minerals, is one of the few places in the bay hosting various species of marine life.
The metro officials insisted that environmental assessments showed the project would not have much impact on sea creatures in the area. In responding to questioning at a Tokyo assembly session earlier this year, Ishihara said the gobies would go somewhere else.
Protesters said the governor should know better and scrap the project before it becomes too late.
One protester, Misao Amano, said, “We oppose it because gobies live only here.”
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