The government on Monday ordered Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga to “correct” his cancellation of approval for landfill work at the replacement site for the Futenma military base.
The action, taken by land minister Keiichi Ishii under the local autonomy law, is in line with Friday’s agreement between the central and Okinawa governments to settle their court battle over the land reclamation in the Henoko district in Nago.
Ishii’s order to Onaga was made in a document that was mailed to the governor Monday. In it, the minister tells Onaga to decide whether to accept the order within five business days of receiving it. The deadline is believed to be Tuesday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday that the central government took the action based on the settlement proposed by the Fukuoka High Court branch in Naha, the capital of Okinawa.
The settlement allows the Okinawa governor to file an appeal against the “correction” order with the Central and Local Government Dispute Management Council, a third-party panel of the internal affairs ministry.
Speaking to reporters in Naha, Onaga criticized the central government for ordering him to withdraw his cancellation of the reclamation approval, which was issued by his predecessor, Hirokazu Nakaima, in December 2013, so soon after Friday’s settlement.
Under the deal, the government will stop work on building the Futenma replacement facility.
The settlement also calls for discussions between the two sides for an amicable solution to their dispute over the Futenma base relocation issue. The Okinawa government wants the base moved out of the prefecture.
On Monday, the Defense Ministry’s Okinawa Defense Bureau dropped a request it made in October to the land minister to screen and suspend Onaga’s cancellation of the landfill approval.