Green group submits petition with 10,000 signatures in bid to halt work at Henoko


An environmental lobby group on Wednesday submitted a letter with some 10,000 signatures urging Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to suspend a drilling survey for the construction of a U.S. Marine Corps base in northern Okinawa Prefecture.

FoE Japan filed the petition with an official of the Defense Ministry in Tokyo after collecting signatures from citizens and groups in some 20 countries, including Japan, the United States, South Korea and the Philippines.

The petition argues the planned base construction would destroy a beautiful coastline and coral reefs.

Organizers began collecting signatures in late March after the Defense Ministry’s local bureau resumed the drilling survey in waters off the Henoko area of Nago. There are plans for the site to house a replacement base for the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in the more crowded city of Ginowan in the prefecture.

The group, a member of Friends of the Earth International, has said the dumping of concrete blocks on the sea bed as anchors for the drilling survey has damaged corals and seaweed.

At a rally in Tokyo before the submission of the letter, Tsuyoshi Kitaueda, a demonstrator who is against the survey in the Henoko waters, called on more people to support the protest.