Kagoshima OKs Drilling Survey at Isle for SDF Base Plan

Society Politics

Kagoshima, Nov. 27 (Jiji Press)--The Kagoshima prefectural government said Friday it has approved the Japanese Defense Ministry's plan to conduct a drilling survey off an island in the southwestern Japan prefecture for the construction of a Self-Defense Forces base.

The ministry plans to start the survey as early as next month. "I decided today to give the green light, after screening the drilling survey plan based on law," Kagoshima Governor Koichi Shiota said at the day's meeting of the prefectural assembly, while noting that the central government "needs to fulfill its responsibility of giving a sufficient explanation" on the matter.

The survey is slated to be carried out off the island of Mageshima, which belongs to the city of Nishinoomote, in preparation for building a port facility as part of the new base plan. The envisaged base will host field carrier landing practice, or FCLP, for U.S. carrier-borne aircraft. The ministry plans to change the site for the practice to Mageshima from Iwoto, also known as Iwojima, a remote Tokyo island in the Pacific, based on a Japan-U.S. agreement.

On Nov. 2, Shunsuke Yaita, mayor of Nishinoomote, an island city, who is against the base construction, handed the ministry a written opinion saying that the possibility of the drilling survey affecting the fishing grounds environment cannot be ruled out.

The prefectural government on Nov. 9 accepted a drilling survey application from the ministry, which included Yaita's cautious opinion as well as a written opinion from a local fishery cooperative showing its consent to the survey. The application had since been under examination by the Kagoshima government.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press