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Pref. panel backs construction of Shizuoka Airport.

SHIZUOKA, Japan, July 31 Kyodo

A Shizuoka prefectural government advisory panel said Thursday it supports continuing construction of the planned Shizuoka Airport, a project that has drawn flak from environmentalists and other critics.

The panel said its members have unanimously accepted the justification for completing the airport in the city of Shimada, construction of which began 10 years ago.

Backed by the panel's view, the prefectural government will take steps to expropriate the remaining 3.6 hectares of land for construction despite owners' refusal to sell, Shizuoka officials said.

Shizuoka plans to report the panel's view to the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry in August to receive a subsidy for the airport. The airport is to be opened by the end of fiscal 2006.

In the fall, the prefectural government will file an application with the ministry's local bureau for authorization to expropriate the remaining property under the land expropriation law, they said.

Shizuoka Gov. Yoshinobu Ishikawa said, ''Our next step will be determined depending on decision-making by the central government.''

But Katsushi Hayashi, the head of a secretariat for an anti-airport civic group, said, ''The panel has taken at face value the prefectural government's projections for passenger demand for the airport.''

''Such an attitude is tantamount to renouncing its responsibility,'' he said.

Hayashi said the group will kick off a campaign to gather 1 million signatures by members of the public opposing the project.

Shizuoka estimates there will be 1.06 million passengers a year at the airport, from which airlines are to operate four air routes.
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Publication:Japan Transportation Scan
Date:Aug 4, 2003
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