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Gov’t to move forward procedures to hasten relocation work to Henoko

  • 2015-07-27 15:00:00
  • , Nikkei
  • Translation

(Nikkei: July 25, 2015 – p. 4)

 

 The Ministry of Defense is set to frontload procedures necessary to push forward a reclamation project for the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station to Henoko, Nago. On July 24 it requested the Okinawa prefectural government respond to prior consultations needed to start work. Completion of seabed drilling survey, a prerequisite for reclamation work, has been postponed to the end of September from June. The ministry is looking to start reclamation at sites where the drilling survey has been completed to ensure construction will begin in summer.

 

 The ministry on June 24 submitted to the Okinawa government an implementation plan on shallow-water areas where the drilling survey has been completed along with an environmental conservation document, with an eye on holding prior consultations with the prefectural authorities. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga met with Deputy Governor Mitsuo Ageda in the Diet building on the same day to discuss the Futenma relocation issue.

 

 Defense Minister Gen Nakatani has long called for launching reclamation work in the summer, but the drilling survey has been delayed due to typhoons and other circumstances. “We cannot start work in the summer if we wait for completion of drilling,” said a senior ministry official.

 

 The move will spark opposition from the prefecture. Though the local authorities may not come to the table for prior consultations, the government is planning to step up efforts to start reclamation work.

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