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The Supreme Court decision last week to send a case concerning the government-run reclamation project in Isahaya Bay, Nagasaki Prefecture, back to the Fukuoka High Court leaves the judiciary divided over a dispute that has pitted local governments as well as farmers and fishermen in the area against each other for nearly two decades. The government should renew its efforts to settle the case with the fishermen and put an end to the dispute that has long divided the regional community.

Initiated in 1986 and completed in 2008, the ¥235 billion project reclaimed a tidal flat in Isahaya Bay in the western part of the Ariake Sea — a nearly landlocked body of water encircled by Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Saga and Fukuoka prefectures in Kyushu — by closing off the area with a 7-km dike. It created 670 hectares of farmland and a 2,600-hectare reservoir for agricultural use.

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