Adjustments to ODB’s plan for handling coral pushes soil depositing back to mid-August

Adjustments to ODB’s plan for handling coral pushes soil depositing back to mid-August

The ocean area near Cape Henoko enclosed by the K4, N3, and N5 seawalls, photographed on the afternon of June 6 by a small drone in Camp Schwab, Nago City


June 8, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo


The Japanese government is making arrangements for land reclamation work in Henoko, as part of construction of the replacement facility for Futenma Air Station.

Although the government planned to start depositing soil into the ocean in July, this is being pushed back to mid-August. It is being delayed due to the government handling changes to its coral transplantation plans, among other things.


Under the Okinawa Prefecture Red Soil Prevention Ordinance, the Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) will soon notify the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) of the date on which it will start depositing soil.

Even following Governor Takeshi Onaga revoking his predecessor’s approval of the land reclamation permit, the Japanese government is advancing preparations toward depositing soil.


This makes how the OPG will handle these matters from here on out the focal point.

The spot planned for soil deposition is on the south side of Cape Henoko, enclosed by the K4, N3, and N5 seawalls.

Already the N3 and N5 seawalls have reached their arranged lengths, but the K4 seawall is still under construction.


It is estimated that the work enclosing these seawalls will be completed in mid-July.

In April the ODB found a colony of scarce Stylaraea punctata coral in the vicinity of the construction area.

When the governor did not give his approval to transplant the coral, the ODB changed its approach to proceeding with construction without transplanting the coral.

According to the ODB, now the process is being delayed by conservation measures that dimish the amount of stone that can be deposited in the ocean per day, and that require extra handling such as increasing the layers of silt curtains.

However, in late May the ODB began making arrangements with the OPG prior to soil depositing in order to fulfill requirements under the Okinawa Prefecture Red Soil Prevention Ordinance.

The Ordinance requires the ODB to notify the OPG 45 days prior to beginning operations.

It seems that the ODB will provide notification next week at the earliest regarding the commencement of operations.

In an interview on June 7, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga spoke about the timeframe from soil deposits.

He said, “In order to complete relocation as soon as possible, we will proceed steadily while considering the natural environment and citizens’ lives.”


(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)


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