Governor Onaga to seek injunction to block seawall construction for new US base off Henoko

Governor Onaga to seek injunction to block seawall construction for new US base off Henoko

Governor Takeshi Onaga held a press conference on the afternoon of April 25 at the Okinawa Prefectural Government Office.

April 26, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Japanese government began seawall construction off the coast of Henoko, Nago, where it plans to build a new U.S. airfield as a part of the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, on April 25.

Following this move, the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) decided to seek an injunction to block seawall construction as soon as it confirms that the construction has destroyed coral reef on seafloor.
The OPG will file a lawsuit seeking a provisional injunction against the new base construction, and will seek a temporary halt to the seawall construction within one to two months.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga sternly criticized the central government at a press conference held on the afternoon of April 25 at the prefectural government office. The governor said: “It is unforgivable to forcefully begin [seawall construction] without prior consultation. It is a violent action, ignoring the importance of environmental conservation, as it is likely to kill coral reef ecosystems.”

The governor did not specify when he would withdraw the former governor Hirokazu Nakaima’s approval of the land reclamation.

The governor expressed his concern about the seawall construction, saying, “I feel a great sense of crisis.”
“Although the government is rushing to create a fait accompli, it has not even reached a situation that cannot be reversed again.”

Regarding uneasy feelings spreading through the community, the governor said, “I think the prefectural people are irritated. ”

“I will fight by exercising all my power and taking every measure at the appropriate time to realize the promise made to the citizens not to allow the new base to be built in Henoko,” Onaga said.

Kiichiro Jahana, head of the Executive Office of the Governor, pointed out that if dredging began and steel plates were to be installed, as is expected, within two months, it can be regarded that the work to crush the reef has started without the prefectural government’s permission.

In that case, Jahana said, “We can file a lawsuit without hesitation.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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