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SECURITY > Okinawa

University professor points out danger of Futenma relocation due to active fault off Henoko

  • February 18, 2018
  • , Tokyo Shimbun , p. 3
  • JMH Translation

A university professor has warned that it would be dangerous to relocate the U.S. Marines Air Station Futenma to the Henoko area in Nago, Okinawa, by pointing to the possibility of the existence of an active fault on the sea floor off the coast of the relocation site. The government denies the existence of an active fault there, but the professor has warned that the relocation plan should be cancelled immediately.  


At a debate session that “All Okinawa Kaigi,” a group that opposes the Henoko relocation plan, held on Feb. 14, Yuzo Kato, a professor emeritus at the University of the Ryukyus, pointed out a subsidence over 50 meters, which came to light in a seabed fault map made by the now-defunct Defense Agency in 2000, and stressed that “this is surely an active fault line.”


Kato explained that this spot is located on an extension of two fault lines confirmed on the ground and shared his view that the fault slip has widened due to repeated earthquakes. “It would be extremely dangerous if an earthquake were to occur underneath a military base where fuel tanks and ammunition depots are located,” he warned.


The government has argued in a written answer: “There is no record of an active fault off the coast of Henoko, so we do not acknowledge the existence of an active fault there and there are no safety concerns.” But the results of drilling surveys and sonar probes have not been released. Kato argued that “if the government claims the area is safe, it should publicize the detailed data.” (Abridged)

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