(Tokyo Shimbun: July 15, 2015 – p. 6)
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said on July 14 that he will ask the Okinawa Defense Bureau to resubmit a complaint seeking to nullify an order by the Okinawa prefectural government to suspend the bureau’s work off Henoko part of the government’s plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station.
“Opinion is divided between the local defense bureau and the Okinawan authorities over the legal foundation of the prefectural order,” said Hayashi at a press conference held after a cabinet meeting.
The request was sent out on July 14. The Okinawa Defense Bureau will have to submit a complaint within 30 days of its arrival.
According to Japan Fisheries Agency, the defense bureau claimed in a complaint it submitted at the end of May: “The prefecture’s order calls for suspending the work within an area where reef drilling is permitted because of an act in an area that does not require a reef-drilling permit and that order lacks legal foundation.” The prefecture, on the other hand, argues in a letter of explanation it resubmitted this month that “the order makes sense as it is aimed at confirming legality.”
The Okinawa prefectural government in March issued an order to suspend the work connected to the relocation plan, which prompted the Okinawa Defense Bureau to file a complaint with the minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries. The minister temporarily suspended the prefectural order to listen to arguments from both sides.