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Gist of Okinawa governor’s news conference on suspending Henoko operations

  • 2015-03-24 15:00:00
  • , Tokyo Shimbun
  • Translation

(Tokyo Shimbun: March 24, 2015 – p. 2)


 The following is the gist of Governor Takeshi Onaga’s news conference on Mar. 23:


 Q: If reef destruction is found outside of the authorized area, will you demand restoration to the original state?


 Onaga: If reef destruction is found in our investigation, there will be ways to deal with the situation, including demanding restitution.


 Q: If your instructions are not followed, will you cancel the reef destruction permit?


 Onaga: It is possible to cancel the permit if unauthorized activities have been conducted and the conditions have been violated. This is possible because the permit was granted on certain conditions.


 Q: This is the second time instructions have been issued. Has there been any change in the nuance even though the same wording was used?


 Onaga: This time, if there is also a high probability (of reef destruction outside the authorized area), the cancellation of the permit will be much more significant.


 Q: If your instructions are not followed within seven days, will you cancel the permit immediately?


 Onaga: I have made up my mind. While I will consider the matter from various angles, I would like to deal with this seriously if the situation so requires.


 Q: It is possible that legal action may be taken.


 Onaga: This is a sensitive matter. I am taking such a possibility into consideration in dealing with this issue.


 Q: It seems that the government is unlikely to follow the Okinawa government’s instructions. How would you like the government to deal with this?


 Onaga: The government has been saying that it will proceed [with the Henoko relocation process] while obtaining the Okinawan people’s understanding, but it has not made sufficient efforts. The prefectural government is unable to enter (the temporary off-limits zone in waters off Henoko) to carry out an investigation even though boats used for construction work, Coast Guard ships, and the Okinawa Defense Bureau’s survey vessels are traveling freely through the area. This is outrageous.


 Q: Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga claims that the permit was obtained after conducting coordination with the Okinawa government.


 Onaga: If the placement of concrete blocks were likely to destroy the reef, a reef destruction permit would naturally be required. That is where the Chief Cabinet Secretary differs with us over the prior consultation that the government conducted with us.


 Q: If the prefectural government is not able to carry out an investigation in the off-limits area, will the permit be cancelled on the grounds that the set conditions were not followed?


 Onaga: The conditions say that (the prefectural government’s) further instructions for public welfare reasons shall be followed. I think the permit will be cancelled in the event of failure to do so.

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