OPG asks Defense Bureau another 73 questions on Henoko landfill

November 9, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

On November 8, the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) sent a further 73 questions (20 items) to the Okinawa Defense Bureau on the landfill in Henoko, Nago. The questions include those on the impact of reclamation work and sediment procurement on endangered species of dugong and sea turtle that inhabit the coast of Henoko. The deadline for the government reply is November 20. The OPG is examining the content of the application for the landfill submitted by the central government, which is pushing to build an alternative facility at Henoko for U.S. Marine Corp Air Station Futenma. These are follow-up questions from the OPG to the Defense Bureau on the landfill application and the OPG intends to review the content of the application until there no questions remain. OPG officials said that they would consider the following a further round of questions if the response from the Defense Bureau still requires clarification. The answers to the questions may well affect the timing of determining whether or not the governor will approve the landfill. Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima has stated that he will make his decision no earlier than December 2013.

On October 4, the OPG submitted 73 questions (31 items) to the Defense Bureau. After the OPG reviewed the bureau’s response received on October 25 it then submitted 25 reworded questions (11 items) and 48 new questions (nine items). In the first response, regarding the shortage of sediment supply, the bureau explained that it has access to an amount of debris or waste stones for the landfill that exceeds the planned level of procurement. The OPG then asked the Defense Bureau to provide information on the exact volume of stockpiled debris material. It also asked who will investigate whether the sediment, which the bureau plans to purchase from other prefectures, includes harmful substances or not.

As for traces of seaweed having been eaten by dugongs, which have been identified as inhabiting the sea off Henoko, the Defense Bureau explained in their first response that the animals use of the seagrass beds of Henoko was limited. The OPG responded by asking the bureau to give the grounds for this explanation. The OPG has sent additional questions, such as the impact on sea turtles that have been confirmed as coming ashore on the coast.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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