Defense Bureau to Seek Expert Advice on Soil Reinforcement off Henoko


Naha, Okinawa Pref., Aug. 23 (Jiji Press)--The Defense Ministry's Okinawa Defense Bureau will set up a group of experts in civil engineering and related fields to seek advice on soil reinforcement at the U.S. base construction site off the Henoko coastal district in the city of Nago, government sources said Friday.

The move is aimed at countering the Okinawa prefectural government, which opposes the construction of the replacement facility for the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air station in Ginowan, another city in the southernmost Japan prefecture, for reasons including soft soil at the site, observers said.

The group will hold its first meeting in Tokyo early next month, the government sources said.

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to carry out landfill work off Henoko. But the ministry's survey has found that the work area has 73 hectares of soft soil. The government is considering a 44-month project to reinforce the soil by driving some 77,000 piles to depths of up to 70 meters below the sea surface so that the planned Futenma replacement facility does not submerge.

To conduct the soil reinforcement work, the Abe administration has to apply for the Okinawa government's approval for modification to the project design. But Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki is set to decline to give the nod.

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