Land Minister Voids Okinawa's Revocation of Henoko Landfill Nod

Politics

Tokyo, April 5 (Jiji Press)--Land minister Keiichi Ishii said Friday that he has decided to nullify the Okinawa prefectural government's revocation of its earlier approval for landfill work to build a U.S. base off the Henoko district in Nago.

Last August, the government of the southernmost Japan prefecture canceled the landfill approval made in 2013 by Hirokazu Nakaima, then governor, citing the discovery later of soft ground in the work site and a lack of environmental protection measures including for coral reefs there.

But Ishii told a press conference that there was no reason to void the reclamation approval, because it is possible to carry out the work after stabilizing the soft ground. He also said that environment preservation measures have been implemented under instructions by experts.

Ishii made the decision after screening a nullification request by the Defense Ministry's Okinawa bureau in Naha under the administrative complaint review law.

The decision made by a member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet, which is promoting the construction of the replacement facility for the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air base in Ginowan, may spark strong criticism in Okinawa, where more than 70 pct of voters opposed the landfill work in a referendum in February, observers said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press