Japan suspended Okinawa’s order to halt Henoko reclamation work: Governor Onaga doubts its validity

Japan suspended Okinawa's order to halt Henoko reclamation work: Governor Onaga doubts its validity

At the diet on the morning of March 30, fisheries minister Yoshimasa Hayashi announced the suspension of the order by the OPG to halt offshore construction activity, including a marine boring survey in the maritime area of Henoko.

March 31, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga urged the Okinawa Defense Bureau to halt offshore construction activity towards the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the Henoko district of Nago. This includes an order to stop the marine boring survey. However, Fisheries minister Yoshimasa Hayashi suspended the order by the governor on March 30. A representative of the Okinawa Defense Bureau claimed that halting the work could have a negative effect on U.S.-Japan relations, harming diplomacy and the defense of Japan. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan has supported the claim.

Governor Onaga said, “While one sector of the Japanese government asked to overrule the order from the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG), another sector of the Japanese government wanted to support it. I think that the judgement is far from fair. It is really a shame.” On the Japanese government’s suspension of his order, Onaga said, “We are now discussing a way forward with experts.”

The timing of Onaga’s decision to cancel the approval of rock reef destruction will be a focal point of his legal strategy.
Onaga announced to the press that he would continue to work on stopping the relocation.

Hayashi said, “I made the judgement after comparing claims made by the OPG and the defense bureau.”

At the Okinawa Prefectural Government office on the afternoon of March 30, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga criticized the minister's suspension order for being unfair.

The minister says he sees the claim made by the bureau as “legitimate” because the Japanese government is equivalent to a private company in charge of carrying out the reclamation, based on the approval of rock reef destruction by the former Okinawa Govenor. Hayashi added, “If the Japanese government overrules the order by the OPG to halt the reclamation work, the suspension will not have a huge influence on common welfare.”

After reviewing the claim from the OPG, the minister will hear the counterargument from the bureau after April 23, and then he will make a final decision.

Following the suspension of his order on March 30, Onaga said, “Siding with Okinawan people, I will prepare however I can to deal with the situation.” He showed his intention to work on countermeasures such as canceling the prefectural government’s approval of rock reef destruction.

(English translation by T&CT)

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