Onaga sends notice of cancellation, government to resume Henoko construction
December 26, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
At 1:30 p.m. on December 26, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga held a press conference at Naha Airport and announced that he had begun procedures to cancel his cancellation of authorization to reclaim land in Henoko, Nago City. Onaga cancelled the authorization in October of last year. On the same day, the Okinawa prefectural government sent notice of the cancellation to the Okinawa Defense Bureau. As soon as the notice reaches the Defense Bureau, former Governor Hirokazu Nakaima’s authorization of the Henoko land reclamation, which he made in December 2013, will regain force. The Okinawa Defense Bureau plans to resume reclamation work as early as December 27. The work has been suspended since March 4 of this year, when the prefectural and national governments reached an out-of-court settlement in a proxy execution lawsuit.
The measure of cancelling the cancellation of the authorization is being taken in light of a Supreme Court decision made on December 20. The Supreme Court decision declared that there was nothing particularly unreasonable about the Henoko reclamation plan or the environmental measures planned by the Defense Bureau, and judged Governor Onaga’s cancellation of the authorization to be illegal. Governor Onaga had announced that he would abide by thefinal decision regarding the cancellation of the authorization.
At the press conference on December 26, Governor Onaga said, “Now that the Supreme Court ruling has been made, I will construct a new direction in which to proceed from a steady foothold. I entered into the court battle knowing there were other areas where I can assert my authority as governor, so I want to continue to work toward preventing the construction of a new base in Henoko and getting the Osprey removed from Okinawa.”
Of comments made by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga at a separate press conference on December 26 that “the necessary preparations are in place” for resumption of the Henoko construction, Onaga was critical, saying, “resumption of construction should happen after engaging in more discussion.”
At his press conference, Onaga reemphasized that although he will abide by the Supreme Court ruling regarding the cancellation of the land reclamation authorization, there is no change in his intent to continue to use all means at his disposal to prevent the construction of a new base in Henoko. The focus will now be on what method Governor Onaga will use to prevent the construction as the national government begins construction in earnest for the relocation to Henoko of MCAS Futenma both on land in Camp Schwab and at sea when the new year begins.
(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)
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