Okinawa Governor separates approval of Henoko landfill from central government’s policy to promote Okinawan economy

December 9, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

On December 8, Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima talked about the plan to move the Futenma base to Henoko in Nago and the Japanese government’s policies to promote the Okinawan economy. He said, “These are completely separate issues.”

Nakaima will decide beyond the end of December whether or not to approve the application documents to reclaim land off Henoko. During that same period, the Japanese government will propose its budget bill for fiscal 2014. It is trying to make Nakaima approve the plan by implying a connection with the budgeting for promotion of the Okinawan economy, but he has nipped that concept in the bud.

Nakaima talked to the press after meeting Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs Ichita Yamamoto at the governor’s office. He said, “I do not think the plan is linked with the promotion of the Okinawan economy. When Okinawa returned to Japan, the central government started policies to promote economic development in Okinawa to shorten the economic gap between Okinawa and the main islands. There are no strings attached.”

Both the houses of Representatives and Councilors unanimously passed the Act on Special Measures for the Promotion and Development of Okinawa. Referring to this, Nakaima said, “Okinawa’s wishes go no further than what the act provides. I think that the people of Japan understand that.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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