Onaga says 74% disapproval poll shows Okinawans find Henoko base circumstances “outrageous”

Onaga says 74% disapproval poll shows Okinawans find Henoko base circumstances “outrageous”

At the Prefectural Office on May 26, Governor Onaga addresses the public opinion poll results that over 74 percent of Okinawans oppose construction of the new base in Henoko, Nago City. He says the results show that Okinawans still think these circumstances are “outrageous.”

May 26, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo online edition

At a press conference on May 26 Governor Takeshi Onaga commented on a recent public opinion poll that took place after the Supreme Court of Japan handed down the decision against Okinawa concerning the revocation of landfill reclamation approval. The results of this poll showed that more than 74 percent of Okinawans oppose relocating Marine Corps Air Station Futenma (MCAS Futenma) to Henoko, Nago City. Onaga said, “The poll makes apparent that Okinawans don’t agree with the situation in which Okinawa is being placed, and think that it is absurd and outrageous.”

In addition, Onaga responded to Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps General Robert Neller’s announcement to Congress that the plan to relocate the U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa to Guam may be reviewed. Onaga thinks this is due to the influence of missile development in North Korea, but pressed the U.S. to reconsider by saying that he fails to see the wisdom of pushing forward hastily with Henoko base construction while Guam relocation is still under consideration.

As one month has passed since embankment work for the base in Henoko began, Onaga criticized the Japanese government for forcing construction through. He said that the Japanese government is trying to create a fait accompli with no concern for appearances.

Onaga also spoke about the lawsuit he is considering, which would be aimed at stopping construction as a response to unauthorized coral fracturing by the Japanese government. He intends to monitor Japan’s behavior and approach to the coral fracturing hereafter in order to decide whether to request approval to pursue the lawsuit from the prefectural assembly in June.

Regarding his predecessor’s land reclamation permit, Onaga said that he is certain an opportunity to revoke it will emerge, and that from a legal standpoint it is essential that he carefully appraise his timing. He merely stated that he wants to make a decision from a big-picture perspective so that Okinawans can draw closer to their goal.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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