NAGO, OKINAWA PREF. - Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki on Saturday showed his resolve to counter Tokyo’s efforts to press ahead with a controversial U.S. military base relocation project in the prefecture.
It was “intolerable” that the Japanese government on Friday started dumping soil into the landfill off the Henoko coastal district in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, as part of the relocation project, Tamaki said at a protest rally held in Henoko. “It’s an outrage committed by the state.”
“I’ll stay ready for dialogue but will fight as needed,” Tamaki said, suggesting that he is eager to use his authority as governor of the prefecture to block the plan to move the U.S. Marine Corps’ Air Station Futenma, currently located in a densely populated district in Ginowan, Okinawa, to a replacement facility to be built off Henoko.
The relocation plan is based on the 1996 Tokyo-Washington agreement on the return of the Futenma base site to Japan.
The Okinawa Prefectural Government is demanding that the base be moved out of the prefecture.
Hundreds of local residents opposed to the relocation plan took part in the rally held in front of the gate of the Marine Corps’ Camp Schwab, which straddles Nago and the village of Ginoza.
After joining the rally, Tamaki visited a fishing port facing the area to be reclaimed for the construction of the replacement facility to inspect how the landfill work is being carried out.