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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 July 19 - 25  > Citizens in Kyushu city call for preservation of 1,800-year-old archaeological site
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2017 July 19 - 25 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Citizens in Kyushu city call for preservation of 1,800-year-old archaeological site

July 20, 2017
Citizens in Fukuoka’s Kitakyushu City and the Japanese Communist Party members of the city assembly have been opposing a plan to construct a commercial facility on a 1,800-year-old archaeological site.

The Jouno site is a part of former state-owned land in Kitakyushu City. An excavation survey in 2009 found a large grave surrounded by a square-shaped ditch and a habitation site. This is one of the largest graves of this type in the Kyushu region.

Archaeologists point to the academic importance of the Jouno site. Kyushu University Professor Emeritus Nishitani Tadashi said that by studying the site, researchers can gain knowledge about a major settlement at the time when ancient states were forming in Japan. In February 2011, the Japanese Archaeological Association submitted to the national, prefectural, and city governments a petition calling for the preservation of the site.

A few years after the excavation, a major construction company purchased the site from the state through open bidding to construct a shopping mall.

In order to protect the historical site, local residents set up a study group. They held study meetings with scholars attending in order to raise public awareness on this issue. By carrying out a signature-collection campaign and making representations to the city government, the group called on the city to turn the site into an archaeological park

Faced with the tenacity of the popular movement, the developer has refrained from starting construction work for more than a year. The firm proposes handing over the land containing the grave to the city government.

The JCP members in city assembly meetings repeatedly demanded the conservation of the site. JCP Fujisawa Kayo criticized the city’s stance toward this problem. She said, “The mayor’s irresponsible attitude should be called into question. The JCP assembly members will do our utmost to realize the residents’ demand.”
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