Okinawa Base Construction's Link with Dugong's Death Under Probe: Suga

Politics

Tokyo, March 20 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government is investigating whether there is a relation between the death of a dugong and the ongoing new U.S. base construction in Okinawa Prefecture, the top government spokesman clarified Wednesday.

After an individual of the endangered marine mammal species was found dead off the coast of the main island of the southernmost Japan prefecture on Monday, the Defense Ministry started gathering detailed information, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.

The dugong carcass discovery comes as the government is building a replacement facility for the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air station, located in the city of Ginowan on the main island, off the Henoko district of Nago, another city on the same island. Over 70 pct of voters in the prefecture's referendum in February opposed the construction work.

Suga explained that the ministry is trying to know if the base construction work has an implication for the living environment for the extremely rare creature.

But he also said the government "will push forward the work while continuing to take into account the natural and living environment."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press