Ministry seeks Nago’s OK to use port for base move

Kyodo

The Defense Ministry is seeking approval from Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, to use a local port to store building materials for the plan to replace U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, officials said Monday.

The ministry’s bureau in Okinawa filed six requests with Nago on Friday, giving the city until May 12 to respond. The requests were made despite staunch local opposition to moving the U.S. base, which is situated further south in crowded Ginowan.

Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine, re-elected in January on an anti-relocation platform, reiterated his opposition Monday.

“There were no prior consultations, and the way they did it was too aggressive,” Inamine told reporters at the city office.

The ministry’s bureau called for talks with Nago officials to conduct environmental research around the Henoko fishing port in Nago, and a nearby dam as well as, before starting work in the river.

It also urged Nago to submit written opinions on a drilling survey to be conducted on the seafloor.

The Nago board of education was meanwhile asked if there is any buried cultural property in the construction area, the officials said.

Since Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima approved in December the landfill work needed to move the base to the Henoko district, the government has held tenders for surveys related to the long-stalled project.