News Hiroshima Formally Drops Plans to Reclaim Land in 'Ponyo's' Harbor
posted on 2016-02-15 13:40 EST by Karen Ressler
The Hiroshima Prefectural Government announced on Monday that it will formally drop the land reclamation plan in Tomonoura — the harbor in the southwestern Japanese prefecture of Hiroshima that inspired the seaside locale in Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo film. The decision ended a nine-year lawsuit over the issue.
The local city of Fukuyama and Hiroshima Prefecture had drafted a plan in 1983 to improve drainage and reduce traffic congestion by building a bridge across the side of the harbor furthest from the sea. About two hectares (about five acres) would have been reclaimed from the harbor to erect the 180-meter (590-foot) bridge. Fukuyama and Hiroshima Prefecture applied to the governor for a landfill approval in May 2007.
Some local residents were opposed to the project because they believed it would ruin the historical seascape on the coast of Japan's Inland Sea. Opponents had filed a lawsuit in April 2007 to ask that the prefectural governor be banned from issuing a reclamation license to begin the project. The Hiroshima District Court ruled in favor of those citizens in 2009, but the plan was still under consideration.
Hiroshima governor Hidehiko Yuzaki, who came to office in 2009, had announced in 2012 that he planned to abandon the reclamation project but had not yet begun to withdraw the license application due to continuing conflict with project advocates.
Director Miyazaki appeared at a press conference following the decision. "A firm big step was taken at a time when we must question what will become of Japan," he said. "I think the court was spot-on to rule that both the preparation and planning of the project lacked thought and care."