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Editorial: The court is not a place for “political struggle” on Henoko relocation issue

  • 2015-12-04 15:00:00
  • , Sankei
  • Translation

(Sankei: December 4, 2015 – p. 2)


 Court hearing has begun on the complaint filed by the national government to seek “substitute execution” in the process of relocating of the Futenma Air Station to Henoko, on the grounds that Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga’s cancellation of the landfill permit is illegal.


 The key issue here is whether Onaga’s cancellation of the permit granted by the previous governor is legal. It must be clearly understood that the court is not a place for political struggle over security policy.


 The reason cited by Onaga for canceling the permit was “there is no basis for the relocation plan.” He went as far as making a security judgment. The government is fully justified in asserting that the governor has no power to make judgment on issues bearing on the nation’s survival, such as the relocation of bases.


 In his statement to the court, Onaga asked: “Do local autonomy and democracy really exist in Japan?” Yet, the cabinet led by the Prime Minister, who was elected by Diet members elected by the people, is the one responsible for foreign policy and security.


 In the first place, a governor, who is the head of a local government, has no power to overrule the cabinet. It is absurd to talk about the Henoko relocation issue as a question of repression of local autonomy or democracy.


 If this is allowed, the security of Japan – including Okinawa — and the foundation of democracy will be shaken.


 It is even more impermissible that the governor used the term “right of self-determination,” stating that “the Okinawan people’s freedom, equality, human rights, and right of self-determination have been ignored over the years.”


 Since Okinawa’s reversion to Japanese administration in 1972, the government has worked steadily for maintaining security, reducing the base-hosting burden, and improving the people’s livelihood in Okinawa. While opinions may differ on whether such efforts have been sufficient, linking this to “freedom, equality, and human rights” is simply an attempt to incite antagonistic political sentiments.


 The Constitution does not grant Okinawa the “right of self-determination.” It has the same status as other prefectures.


 The government believes that implementing the Japan-U.S. agreement on Henoko relocation is in the public interest of Japan, including Okinawa.


 Failure to realize the relocation will result in the deterioration of the Japan-U.S. relationship and prevent the removal of the danger posed by the Futenma base in a densely-populated residential area.


 Henoko relocation will enhance the deterrence provided by the Japan-U.S. alliance. With China attempting to grab the Senkaku Islands, the situation in the South China Sea, and North Korea’s threat, the success of the relocation plan is a major issue bearing on the safely of the people of Japan and Okinawa.


 We hope for a fair judicial decision based on real issues.

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