US and Japan allow Okinawa to carry out environmental survey after 5 months of requests

August 11, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

On August 10, the governments of Japan and the United States held a joint committee and decided to allow the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) to carry out a survey in the temporary restricted area in the shallow waters off Camp Schwab. The OPG had been requesting both governments allow it to carry out a survey to find out if initial construction work towards building a replacement facility for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan violates the former governor’s approval of rock reef destruction. The OPG has been given ten days to conduct its survey. The OPG, the Okinawa Defense Bureau, and the U.S. military are discussing the details of the schedule. The OPG will provide a survey plan to the military.

According to the Ministry of Defense, the OPG is allowed to enter 1) the outer perimeter of the restricted area where buoys and floats are installed 2) the area where the Okinawa Defense Bureau carried out boring surveys, and 3) the location between the planned reclamation area and the outer perimeter of the restricted area. For five months, the OPG lobbied the Japanese government and the U.S. military to allow it to survey these areas before finally getting the approval. After hearing the decision made by the joint committee, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga spoke to the press on August 10. Onaga said, “It is an extreme shame that both governments did not allow the OPG to enter the areas to carry out surveys for five months after the OPG made the request.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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