Okinawa on U.S. base transfer: Access denied

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Okinawa Prefecture rejected the landfill project for the U.S. military base that was scheduled to relocate this year. The military base was to relocate to another part of Okinawa to make it’s operations smoother and keep citizens away from falling debris from military helicopters and planes.


The landfill project was approved in 2013 by the late governor. The U.S.M.C. air base was to be relocated because U.S. military personnel had done some criminal acts and many personnel are still facing trials. The local residents were – and still are – furious at the military base and it’s personnel hence the need to relocate.


However, some who are knowledgeable in the law say that the landfill project is illegal and some defend the landfill project. Okinawans want the landfill project and say that Tokyo has no business meddling in their affairs while Tokyo threatens to push this to court.


However, shortly before the late governor’s death, he ordered all necessary authorities and officials to immediately halt the landfill project. This has also been called into question as there is no reasonable explanation as to why he wanted to halt the landfill project. Though, some speculate that it could damage the original beauty of that part of the Okinawan island.


The Ministry of Defense’s local bureau state that the landfill project is illegal as they hadn’t made the corrections to the prefectures request. Also, the ground in the area was seen as unsuitable because it was too soft to accommodate the heavy equipment the United States Marines operate.


The current governor, Onaga, had the landfill project revoked stating that there are legal defects. However, the Japanese Supreme Court has challenged Onaga’s claims and has ordered that the landfill project continue as scheduled and without further delay; much to Onaga’s disappointment and fury.


Reference: Okinawa retracts approval of landfill work for U.S. base transfer


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