Japan Govt Counters Okinawa's Rejection of Henoko Design Changes

Politics

Tokyo, Dec. 7 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Defense Ministry on Tuesday took action to counter Okinawa Prefecture's recent rejection of the central government's application for design changes in its plan to relocate a U.S. military base in Okinawa within the southernmost Japan prefecture.

The ministry's Okinawa Defense Bureau filed a complaint with land minister Tetsuo Saito under the administrative appeal act, demanding a review of the move by the Okinawa prefectural government.

In April 2020, the Japanese government filed the design change application to drive over 70,000 piles to reinforce soft ground found in part of waters subject to reclamation off the Henoko coastal district in the city of Nago, to which the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air station, now in the city of Ginowan, is planned to be relocated. The national government argues that the Futenma relocation to Henoko, agreed on between Japan and the United States, is the only viable way to remove the dangers posed by the Futenma base, which is located in a densely populated area.

About 73 hectares of soft soil have been found east of the cape of Henokozaki. The deepest point of the weak ground is believed to lie about 90 meters below the sea surface. Landfill work for the relocation is being carried out in areas that are not subject to planned design changes.

Last month, the Okinawa government turned down the central government application, saying that necessary research on the deepest point of the soft soil had not been carried out, and that the stability of the ground had therefore not been confirmed. It also said that the state had failed to fully evaluate the possible impact of the design changes on the ecology of dugongs.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press