(Sankei: June 12, 2015 – Top play)
It was found on June 11 that crushed rocks from Amami-Oshima in Kagoshima Prefecture were used for the construction of the Gima Dam in the town of Kumejima, a project commissioned by the Okinawa Prefectural Government completed in January last year. Governor Takeshi Onaga is planning to prohibit the transport of earth and sand from outside Okinawa in the project to relocate the U.S. forces’ Futenma Air Station (in Ginowan City) to Henoko, Nago City, and ban the use of stone materials from outside Okinawa for the construction of the second runway at Naha Airport, a project of the Cabinet Office. It is evident that the Okinawa government is applying double standards for national government and prefectural projects.
Construction work at the Gima Dam started in December 2007 and was completed in January 2014. Test operations started the following month.
According to the prefectural government, around 480,000 cubic meters of earth, sand, and limestone were used for the Gima Dam projects, and 23,000 cubic meters of crushed rocks, or 5%, was transported from Amami-Oshima around 2010.
Okinawa is investigating whether species of ants and other living organisms not found in Okinawa have been introduced, but it is unclear if environmental measures were taken to prevent adverse effects on the ecosystem.
The Defense Ministry is planning to use earth and sand from Amami-Oshima for reclamation work in the Henoko relocation project. Okinawa Prefectural Assembly members from the Social Democratic Party and other parties supporting Onaga are planning to submit a bill in June to restrict the introduction of earth, sand, and other materials from outside the prefecture, in an attempt to obstruct Henoko relocation. Onaga is aware of this and is poised to impose the ban if the bill is approved and implemented.
The Cabinet Office is also applying to use stone materials from outside Okinawa for the construction of the second runway at Naha Airport. Onaga is in the final phase of coordination to reject the application. Even if he changes his policy and approves the request, the new ban will still apply if approved by the prefectural assembly. (Slightly abridged)