Three municipalities in Chiba Prefecture asked the environment ministry Wednesday for its cooperation in preserving and restoring the Sanbanze tidal flats.

The mayors of Funabashi, Ichikawa and Urayasu submitted a petition requesting the ministry’s help in protecting the wetland, which is one of just two such areas located along Tokyo Bay.

“We think it is important that the central, prefectural and city governments cooperate in ensuring that Sanbanze’s environment stays healthy,” the petition says, adding that the process of urbanization has harmed the wetland, and has hampered fishing and other activities.

The mayors are seeking to make the wetland a national wildlife protection area, with an eye to registering it under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

They also want to make the area more accessible by creating a visitors center.

Chiba Gov. Akiko Domoto wants to go back to the drawing board regarding the issue of a proposed reclamation project and is scheduled to decide on the future of the area next month.

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