• Kyodo

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Environmentalists from Japan and the United States urged a U.S. court Wednesday to block the construction of an airport in northern Okinawa for use by the U.S. military, claiming it could endanger dugongs there.

The conservationists, who filed the lawsuit against the Pentagon and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, said construction of the civilian-military airport will drive out the endangered sea mammals that live at the proposed site, which covers a reef and surrounding area.

The defendants urged the court to dismiss the case, saying the facility will be built by the Japanese government and that the U.S. bears no responsibility.

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