Both Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times reported that today marks the third anniversary of the prefectural referendum on Futenma relocation in which more than 70% of voters voiced opposition to the existing plan to build the replacement facility off Camp Schwab. The papers said that despite the results of the referendum, the Japanese government continues to build a “new base” in Henoko. In a front-page article on the anniversary, Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that the Futenma issue has “entered a new phase” since Governor Tamaki rejected last November FRF design changes to address the engineering problems associated with the soft seabed in Oura Bay. The paper claimed that while Prime Minister Kishida is hoping to move forward with the existing relocation plan, the plan is becoming less and less realistic because in addition to the lack of local consent for the reclamation work, the GOJ itself is admitting that building the replacement facility will be difficult unless the design is substantially changed due to the soft seabed in the vicinity.
Okinawa Times wrote that today Governor Tamaki released a statement criticizing the central government for continuing to move forward with the relocation work in Henoko. He reportedly said: “The will of the people, which is clearly against the reclamation work, carries weight and is sacred…The central government must respect the will of the people from the viewpoint of securing the autonomy and independence of local municipalities with which it enjoys equal and cooperative relations.”