Nago fishing co-op OKs base fill

JIJI

The head of a fishermen’s cooperative in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, said its members will agree to landfill work necessary for the planned relocation of the Futenma military base to the city’s Henoko coastal area.

“We are unable to fish freely in the planned landfill site. I believe 99 percent of our members will agree to the work as they want the issue to be settled soon,” Hiroshi Kohagura told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday after the Defense Ministry submitted to the cooperative a document asking for an agreement to the landfill plan.

The agreement of the association, which has fishing rights for the surrounding ocean area in Henoko, is required if Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima is to give the green light to the landfill work.

Kohagura said he plans to discuss the matter among co-op executives to reach a consensus in March. Then, at a special general meeting, he hopes to obtain consent from members to leave the decision to the executives.

Meanwhile, Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine issued a statement saying the central government’s application for the landfill work is “totally unacceptable.”

Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima said at a news conference Tuesday that Futenma must be moved out of his city. The central government has to promote efforts to relocate the base, he said, adding that the best place for it is out of the prefecture.

The Defense Ministry’s request for the fishing cooperative’s agreement is designed to pave the way for the central government’s application to the Okinawa governor for a landfill permit. The central government plans to ask for his approval in March.