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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 June 7 - 13  > Signature-collection campaign to designate dugong as prefectural animal initiated
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2017 June 7 - 13 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Signature-collection campaign to designate dugong as prefectural animal initiated

June 8, 2017
A group of Okinawans, including Okinawan folksinger Koja Misako, on June 6 launched a signature-collection campaign urging the Okinawa prefectural government to designate dugong as a prefectural animal.

The group on the same day held a press conference at the prefectural government office building to announce this campaign which calls on the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly to enact an ordinance to register dugong as the prefecture’s symbol animal and also designate October 5 as ‘dugong day’, a Japanese pun on “October 5”.

The signature campaign organizers are aiming to collect tens of thousands of signatures by the end of the year.

The group at the press conference said that while the Ministry of Environment classifies dugong as a national endangered species, dugong feeding grounds in the sea area off the Henoko district will be destroyed by land reclamation for the construction of a new U.S. base. It stressed that dugong is a symbolic marine animal coexisting with nature and the Okinawan people, and said that such a great asset should be passed onto future generations.

Famous Okinawan folk singer Koja said, “When I was a child, I swam in the sea with a beautiful sand beach which has already been landfilled. I don’t want the central government to further destroy Okinawa’s sea where dugongs inhabit.”

Past related articles:
> Offshore work preliminary to landfill work commences in Henoko [April 26, 2017]
> Nature conservation NGO calls for survey of dugong feeding grounds in Henoko [August 20, 2014]
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