OPG asks government to correct land reclamation application

April 13, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

On April 12, the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) asked the Okinawa Defense Bureau to make corrections to the written application that the central government has submitted to the Governor of Okinawa. This is part of the process for seeking approval for the landfill in Henoko, Nago, to build the alternative facilities for the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. The OPG pointed out that the application had a total of 33 flaws in 13 sections, including insufficient detail. Before the agency submitted the application, the OPG asked the bureau to clearly specify the amount of sediment to be used for the landfill, the location for collecting this and the access route to be used. Despite being asked to do so, the bureau did not specifically provide these details in the document. The OPG has requested that the central government submit the corrections by June 11.

In the application form, the bureau wrote that the location for collecting the sediment was to be “Okinawa, Kyushu and the Seto Inland Sea,” but did not specify the names of municipalities involved. The OPG considers that the Henoko Fishing Port breakwater will be rendered ineffective by the landfill, and has asked the bureau to get a letter of consent from the Nago Municipal Office, which constructed the breakwater, or to attach a document giving the reason why such consent is not forthcoming from the municipal office. The OPG also requested that the government make mention of the findings on the presence or absence of hazardous substances in the sediment. The OPG has published the details of the corrections it requires on its website.

After the bureau submits the necessary corrections, it will take two or three weeks to get the documents ready for public inspection, which is a procedural step for the reclamation. Public inspection will then be carried out over three weeks at the OPG’s offices in Naha and at the Hokubu Engineering Office in Nago. After that, once he reviews the content of the application and consults with the mayor of Nago, Governor Hirokazu Nakaima will determine whether or not he will approve the reclamation. The OPG considers that it will require from six and a half months to eight and a half months to get the governor’s decision on the landfill. In addition to this, it can take a considerable amount of time to review the environmental impact statement, which is attached to the application, and the task may become drawn-out.

Director of the Okinawa Defense Bureau Hirofumi Takeda commented on the request from the OPG for amendment, saying, “We will go through its content and respond appropriately and carefully.”

The corrections requested by the OPG:
The Okinawa Defense Bureau must submit the corrections to the document to the OPG by June 11.
• Specify the presence or absence of hazardous substances in the landfill soil.
• Provide a statement from the Nago mayor on the potential impact on the breakwater at Henoko Fishing Port.
• Describe in detail the amount of sediment required, the location of collecting this sediment and the access route to carry this out.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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