(Yomiuri: July 30, 2015 – p. 4)
The Okinawa Prefectural government disclosed to the public on July 29 a report by a third-party panel on the landfill approval for relocating the U.S. military Futenma Air Station to Henoko in Nago City. The report directed its criticism at the insufficient examination by the prefectural government rather than the national government’s response. If Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga announces the cancellation of the approval based on the report, this may invite criticism that “it is unreasonable for the prefectural government to reject its own decision.”
The report listed multiple problems regarding the basis of deciding on Henoko as the relocation site such as “insufficient examination by the prefectural government.” The report concluded that there are “legal defects” in the landfill permit. If the report is deemed accurate, it will be an acknowledgement that the approval process conducted under former Governor Hirokazu Nakaima was flawed.
Based on the assessment that “it is wrong for the prefectural government’s response to change drastically because there is a new governor,” the administration has not changed its stance of starting the main construction after August. If Governor Onaga takes action to cancel the approval, the government plans to call for the nullification of the cancellation through petitioning the prefectural government for redress of the cancellation in accordance with the Administrative Complaint Investigation Law.
Voices of doubt have also been raised about the report within the prefectural government. One official said, “The report only points out the differences between the national and the prefectural governments, which cannot be said to be an obvious fault.” Another official said, “The contents of the report are insufficient to withstand a legal battle with the national government.”(Abridged)