30 meter landslide in Henoko near ammunition depot

30 meter landslide in Henoko near ammunition depot

The coast near the U.S. military’s Henoko Ordnance Ammunition Depot where the landslide occurred. The area of landslide almost reaches the base fence. On September 10 in Henoko, Nago (photograph provided by the Okinawa Drone Project)

September 17, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

(Nago) As of September 16, it was confirmed that a landslide occurred near the U.S. military’s Henoko Ordnance Ammunition Depot facing Oura Bay in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture.

The landslide occurred right next to the fence demarcating the base land, and it is estimated from Geospatial Information Authority maps and other references that a cliff having an elevation of around 30 meters above sea level fell over a width of around 15 meters.

The ground is visible over that range and the soil fell all the way down to the shore below.

Residents living near the area expressed discomfort with the authorities’ handling of the situation, saying, “the ammunition depot where dangerous bombs are stored is in an even more dangerous state than usual, but we were told nothing of the situation by the Okinawa Defense Bureau or the U.S. military.”

As seen in a photograph captured using a drone on September 10 by the Okinawa Drone Project, a civic group that monitors U.S. military and Japan Self Defense Force bases, the landslide was also adjacent to a building construction work site in the Henoko Ordnance Ammunition Depot.

The same spot on May 30.

Near the bottom of the cliff is the K9 embankment where soil to be used for the construction of a new base as part of the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma is being unloaded.

Residents engaging in protest action at sea in opposition to the new base construction saw the landslide on August 19, and it is possible that the landslide occurred in mid-August.

In an image of the same spot captured by a Ryukyu Shimpo drone on May 30, trees cover the cliff from beside the fence at the top down to the bottom of the cliff, and the ground is not visible at all.

“We residents are ill at ease not knowing what is stored at the ammunition depot, and we were not even notified of the occurrence of the landslide.

It has been pointed out that there are active faults nearby as well. If we wait until an accident occurs, it will be too late, and the risk to our lives will increase,” said Takemasa Kinjo, 62, who lives in Henoko and has issued complaints about the danger posed by the Henoko Ordnance Ammunition Depot during petitions to the Defense Bureau.

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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