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Osaka Faces Legal Challenge Over Whale Disposal Costs

OSAKA, Jul 03 (News On Japan) - A lawsuit has been filed by a civic group against the mayor of Osaka, demanding damages from the involved officials and contractors over the high costs of disposing of a whale that wandered into Osaka Bay and died. The city of Osaka has indicated it will contest the case.

The sperm whale, nicknamed "Yodo-chan," was found dead near the mouth of the Yodo River in January last year. It was later sunk off the Kii Channel by a maritime contractor hired by the city. Initially, the city estimated the total disposal cost at 20.68 million yen, but the actual cost nearly quadrupled to 80.19 million yen.

The civic group argues that the city did not consider alternatives to the contracted firm, rendering the contract illegal and void. They have sued Mayor Hideyuki Yokoyama, demanding over 80 million yen in damages from the officials and the contractor involved in the selection process.

In the trial that began on July 2 at the Osaka District Court, the civic group highlighted the lack of a bidding process and the heavily redacted documents released through information disclosure, expressing their hope for a thorough investigation through the trial.

The city, on the other hand, has sought to have the claims dismissed and plans to explain its reasoning in subsequent court sessions.

Source: YOMIURI

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