Okinawa Defense Bureau begins float removal around Henoko

Okinawa Defense Bureau begins float removal around Henoko

An Okinawa Defense Bureau work barge removes a portion of the floats on the afternoon of April 13, 2015 in Oura Bay, Nago.

May 1, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

At 7:20 a.m. on April 30, the Okinawa Defense Bureau began the process of removing the floats and oil fence that had been put up to demarcate the off-limits zone in the bay off the coast of Henoko. The off-limits zone was established to facilitate the construction of a new U.S. military base in Henoko, Nago as part of the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. According to the Okinawa Defense Bureau, it will take several weeks to complete the removal process.

The float removal is part of a settlement in a lawsuit over the Henoko relocation. On April 30, when the float removal process began, Governor Takeshi Onaga told the press that while the float removal is a step in the right direction, he will continue to push for the removal of the buoys and anchor blocks set up to facilitate the related drilling survey in the bay, as well as the abolition of the temporary restricted zone in its entirety.

Okinawa Defense Bureau work barges appeared off the coast of Henoko just after 7 a.m. and began to remove the oil fence. Shortly after 2 p.m., the barges disconnected a portion of the floats near the Sedake coast and dragged them onto the shore.

In the afternoon, protesters opposing the new base construction went out in four protest boats and twenty-five kayaks. They entered the off-limits zone, calling for spud barges and concrete blocks to be removed from the bay as well.

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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