On Sept. 11, the Okinawa prefectural government held the “Henoko Oura Bay Symposium 2021,” an online event to inform the public about the unique natural environment of Oura Bay in Nago’s Henoko district, where the replacement facility for MCAS Futenma is to be built. The prefecture representatives and experts who participated in the event adopted a statement urging the U.S. and Japanese governments to cancel the construction project. In the statement, they pointed out that “if the reclamation work continues in line with the current plan, the rich, irreplaceable ecosystem of coral, which is of inestimable value, will be lost forever,” and they requested [the two governments] to hold a dialogue with the prefecture and investigate the impact of the construction on the ecosystem.
At the symposium, Kamao Shoji, an associate professor at Nihon University’s engineering department, and Abe Mariko, chief of the conservation unit at the Nature Conservation Society of Japan, delivered keynote speeches, followed by panel discussions that featured experts on the environment and civil engineering.
Okinawa Governor Tamaki Denny also delivered remarks, saying: “I am extremely concerned that [the project] may destroy humanity’s natural assets forever. The reclamation project must be called off immediately.” He went on to say that (the discussions at the symposium) “showed us that there are many issues we need to address.” (Abridged)