Japan Government's Victory over Okinawa Finalized in Futenma Base Suit (News)


Tokyo, Dec. 20 (Jiji Press)—Japan's Supreme Court on Tuesday made a judgment that finalized the central government's victory in a lawsuit it filed against Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi over the planned relocation of a major US military base within the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa.

The top court's Second Petty Bench, presided over by Justice Onimaru Kaoru, turned down an appeal filed by the governor's side, upholding a high court branch ruling in favor of the state.

In December 2013, Onaga's predecessor, Nakaima Hirokazu, gave the prefecture's permission for landfill work needed for the transfer of the US Marine Corps' Futenma air station in the Okinawa city of Ginowan to the Henoko coastal area in Nago, another city in the prefecture.

But Onaga, a staunch opponent of the base relocation plan, who was elected Okinawa governor in November 2014, canceled the approval in October 2015.

The central government later instructed Onaga to withdraw his nullification of the landfill approval, but the governor, who calls for the base to be moved out of Okinawa, rejected the instruction.

Okinawa Governor Renews Pledge to Block US Base Relocation

Naha, Okinawa Pref., Dec. 20 (Jiji Press)—Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi Tuesday renewed his pledge to block the planned relocation of a US military base within his prefecture after his defeat became final in a lawsuit with the national government over the relocation.

"I'm deeply disappointed," Onaga told a press conference after the Supreme Court ruled his cancellation of land reclamation approval related to the relocation project illegal.

The governor said he will revive the prefecture's approval for land reclamation needed to build a US military facility in the Henoko coastal area of Nago, as a replacement for the Marine Corps' Futenma air base in Ginowan.

Still, Onaga expressed his determination to do all he can to stop the relocation. "I am confident the Okinawa people will fight it out until the Japanese central and US governments abandon the Henoko project," he said.

Nago Mayor Inamine Susumu told reporters on the day that he has been shocked by the court decision. He criticized the top court for reaching its judgment without fully understanding the situation surrounding the base relocation.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Okinawa Jiji Press