[Extra] Government takes step towards building new US base in Henoko amid protest

October 29, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

At 8 a.m. on October 29, the defense ministry’s Okinawa bureau started reclamation work that is a step towards building a new U.S. base in Henoko, Nago. The governments of Japan and the United States plan to relocate U.S. Marine Corp Air Station Futenma in Ginowan to Henoko.

Land Minister Keiichi Ishii decided on October 29 to suspend Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga’s revocation of landfill. Following the minister’s decision, the defense bureau started the construction work.

The bureau also has resumed a seabed boring survey, which was suspended by the governor’s revocation.

Nineteen years have passed since the governments of Japan and the United States agreed to return the Futenma Air Station to locals. Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine and Governor Takeshi Onaga have opposed the central government’s relocation plan because it will not only prevent Okinawa from resolving its longstanding base problem but it also means that Okinawa will continue to host U.S. bases into the future. It could trigger strong opposition from the prefectural government and Nago City that the central government has started the work forcibly.

It is speculated that the government’s actions could galvanise the people’s movement . The standoff over the relocation has moved into a critical phase.

(English translation by T&CT)

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