Highly appreciated the decision to avoid the negative impacts on Nakaikemi-shicchi Rasmar site that scientifically proved its importance.
Statement on the decision by the Additional EIA Survey and Review Committee on the Hokuriku-shinkansen route passing though Nakaikemi-shicchi
18th March 2015
Chair of the Board of Directors,
The Nature Conservation Society of Japan
Nakaikemi-shicchi (Tsuruga city, Fukui prefecture) was designated as a protected wetland under Ramsar Convention in July 2012 because of its preciousness in the world. However, the approval to change a route for Hokuriku Bullet train Railroad passing through Nakaikemi-shicchi was revealed after the registration. Because the approved route could give irreversible negative impacts on natural environment of the wetland, the Nature Conservation Society of Japan (NACS-J) has requested to reconsider the route since then. To solve this issue, the expert committee for additional environmental impact survey and prediction in the construction (Nakaikemi-shicchi Additional EIA Survey and Review Committee) was established in 2013 by the operator, Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT). The final meeting was held on 15th March 2015.
At the final meeting, they compared and evaluated the environmental impacts on natural environment of Nakaikemi-shicchi in the (newly) approved route and the previous route (the route which was made Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) ) and concluded that the approved route has larger negative impacts than the EIA route. So they recommended to JRTT for considering a new route based on the EIA route to decrease the environmental impacts as little as possible. In response to the recommendation, the operator agreed to consider a new route promptly and intend to change it from the approved route.
On this committee meeting, regarding to the approved route that has been concerned to give strong negative impacts on natural environment of the wetland, the magnitude of the negative impacts has been scientifically proven on the basis of practical survey. This result shows the committee was well-functioned and the operator investigated well enough. The operator announced their intention to take the results of the expert committee into consideration.
We highly appreciate their attitude and believe it becomes a role-model of other public works in the era where environmental considerations are required.
We expect further consideration in a new route and construction methods that would not give negative impacts on hydrological environments of the wetland because the EIA route that is grounded on a new route still passes through within the Ramsar site. In addition, assuring the transparency of the process, promoting community participation and securing enough time to evaluate the options are most valuable when you reconsider a new route and a specific construction method. We also aspire to publicize the evaluation system and the process to choose the best option.
The Nature Conservation Society of Japan keeps working with related organizations to protect Nakaikemi-shicchi, the internationally protected wetland in an appropriate manner.