It was learned on Oct. 28 that the Okinawa Defense Bureau plans to sign contracts for landfill work for the construction of a new military base in Henoko within the current fiscal year. The list of “projects with contracts to be signed in FY17” on the bureau’s website was updated on Oct. 27 with five items, including “Schwab landfill,” being added. An announcement is expected to be made in the third quarter (October-December). This will be the first batch of contracts for the landfill. While no specific date is indicated for the actual start of reclamation work, it is believed that this move is meant to give the public the impression that construction work is moving forward ahead of the Nago City mayoral election in February and the gubernatorial election taking place in the fall.
The construction period is set at 25 months. The reclamation work will actually depend on the completion of the surrounding embankments but it is still unclear when work for the K9 and A Embankments can begin. The landfill will use a total of 1.74 million cubic meters of earth, which must come from Okinawa.
Tsuyoshi Kitaueda of the Okinawa citizens’ liaison group for peace, a group monitoring the construction work in Henoko, says: “The plan is to extract earth from the Henoko Dam area, but the transportation method has not even been decided. Rushing to sign contracts with the contractors might be meant to increase the amount of compensation in lawsuits if the governor withdraws the landfill permit,” suggesting that this must be the government’s motive. (Slightly abridged)