Okinawa Governor to reject the reclamation of the coastal area of Henoko

Okinawa Governor to reject the reclamation of the coastal area of Henoko

Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima


December 28, 2011 Compiled from reports in the Ryukyu Shimpo

In a New Year’s interview on December 27, Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima indicated that he will reject the application to reclaim the coastal area of Henoko in Nago that has been decided upon as the site for relocation of the United States Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. He said, “There is no way that I will be forced to accept this application.”

In response to the central government’s view that if necessary it could use the Local Autonomy Act to sidestep the need to get permission from the governor of Okinawa, and thereby execute by proxy to get approval for the application, Nakaima said, “To be honest, I do not think it is possible for the central government to do that.”

With regard to the application for the reclamation of the coastal area of Henoko, Nakaima said, “I have no intention of changing my policy pledge demanding the relocation of Futenma Air Station to a location outside Okinawa and I do not think that the submission of the Henoko environmental impact report affects that stance in any way.” He went on to say, “I will never be in a situation in which I would approve this application. I cannot see anything happening that would make me suddenly change my mind.”

With regard to the central government’s claim that it could execute by proxy and approve the application, Nakaima said, “In general terms, the central government could only execute by proxy if the implementation of statutory work entrusted to the prefectural government were illegal or not in the public interest. We are getting the vice governor, who is in charge of this matter, study the central government’s view.” He continued, “I honestly do not think that the central government can go down that track.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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Citizens’ groups prevent Ministry of Defense from submitting Henoko environmental impact report

December 28, 2011 Compiled from reports in the Ryukyu Shimpo

On December 27, the Ministry of Defense commissioned a delivery company to take the written evaluation on the environmental impact of the reclamation of the coastal area of Henoko in Nago to the Okinawa Prefectural Office. However the van found itself surrounded by citizens who had packed themselves into the Office to prevent the submission of the report. The Prefectural Government asked the Okinawa Defense Bureau to turn the van away in order to avoid trouble, so it headed away without submitting the report. That same day, Chairman of Okinawa Prefectural Assembly Zenshin Takamine and heads of various citizens’ group remonstrated against the submission of the evaluation report. Takamine strongly criticized the central government, saying, “The Okinawan people are extremely angry with the central government for the way it has ignored the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly’s decision to request that the central government not submit the evaluation report.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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Ministry of Defense takes the Henoko environmental impact report to the Okinawa Prefectural Office before dawn

December 28, 2011 Compiled from reports in the Ryukyu Shimpo

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At around 4:00am on December 28, the Okinawa Defense Bureau used four cars to take part of the evaluation report to the Okinawa Prefectural Office. Because protests by citizens’ groups forced the Bureau to take some of the report back, the Prefectural Government insists that the submission process is not yet complete. As of 9:00am, citizens’ groups were still trying to prevent the Bureau from bringing the report into the office, causing a tense standoff. There will be strident opposition in Okinawa about the way the Bureau delivered the evaluation report documents before dawn.

Okinawa Defense Director Ro Manabe accompanied staff from the Bureau when transporting the report and gave instructions during the process, but he did not reply to any questions posed by news reporters.

Entering the Office through a side door in the early hours of the morning, about 20 staff who came in cars each carrying a cardboard box carried 16 boxes into the building security guards’ room, where there was only one security guard on duty at the time.

One member of the citizen groups who had been keeping watch since 1:00am that day fiercely protested against the staff of the Bureau, and as members of the media reported on what was happening, Defense Bureau staff took the boxes containing some of report documents back to their cars. Three cars, including the one carrying Manabe, left the Office about five minutes after they arrived.

In response to questions from reporters, Haruo Morita, the head of the Planning Division of the Okinawa Defense Bureau, who was in a parked car, said, “The boxes contain documents regarding the report. There are over 20 boxes here, but we have not brought some of those boxes in to the office.” Morita did not clearly indicate whether or not the submission process is now complete because some of the boxes have not yet been brought to the Office.

After the staff of the Bureau left, staff of the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG), including Toru Uehara, head of the Local Administration Department, arrived at the scene. Uehara said, “Acceptance of the documents is not complete because the central government has not completed all the prescribed procedures, such as getting seals stamped on some of the documents.”

Meeting members of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly who visited the Office that day before noon, head of the Executive Office of the Governor Susumu Matayoshi said, “At this stage, we are not saying that we have officially received the evaluation report. However, the OPG is obliged to take receipt of the report if the documentation is completed. We intend to check to see if all forms are filled out correctly.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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