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The government will need to take the initiative to break the legal gridlock over the Isahaya Bay dike in Nagasaki Prefecture, as fishermen seek to open the floodgates and farmers try to keep the floodgates closed. Courts have handed down conflicting rulings in the dispute.

Since the government let pass the Dec. 20 deadline mandated by the 2010 Fukuoka High Court decision to open the floodgates so that alleged damage to fisheries could be investigated, an unusual situation now exists in which the government, in an unprecedented move, has failed to act on a finalized court ruling. At the same time, the government has been constrained by a November injunction issued by the Nagasaki District Court, which approved a request sought by local farmers to stop the opening of the floodgates out of fear that incoming seawater could ruin their reclaimed farmland.

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