All papers ran front- or inside-page reports on Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga’s announcement at a news conference on July 21 that the GOJ will file a fresh lawsuit against the Okinawa Prefectural Government with the Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court on July 22 to seek confirmation that Governor Onaga has acted illegally in not complying with a state order to retract his revocation of the landfill permit for the FRF construction at Henoko. Suga said that the government made the decision after the governor said at a meeting between the GOJ and Okinawa held earlier in the day that the prefecture does not plan to file its own suit. Suga added that the government’s decision is in line with the court-mediated settlement in March that proposed the parallel continuation of legal action and discussion between the central and prefectural governments. Onaga told reporters after Suga’s announcement that the move by the GOJ is extremely regrettable.
Asahi wrote that the GOJ is hoping to move forward with the FRF construction by swiftly settling its legal dispute with Okinawa. However, Okinawa, with strong public support in the prefecture, seems determined to fight Tokyo. Mainichi speculated that the GOJ decided to file a lawsuit to maintain its planned schedule of resuming construction in the spring of 2017 out of concern that calls for a review of the existing relocation plan may arise under the new U.S. administration to be launched next January if the relocation plan is long delayed.