Governor Nakaima shows green light to Henoko landfill

After informing senior prefectural government officials at a meeting on Thursday of his intention to approve the Henoko landfill project to begin the relocation of the MCAS Fytenma, the prefecture government completed the paperwork to approve the Japanese government’s application to commence the work.

The pertaining documents were delivered from the prefectural government to the Defense Ministry’s Okinawa Defense Bureau in the morning.

Nakaima intends to officially announce his decision at a press conference later today, and explain the reasoning behind his decision.

Besides a promise on massive central government assistance to the prefecture, the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised to start a study of an early return of the MCAS Futenma, and transferring a part of the Osprey exercises in other locations outside the prefecture. During the negotiations Nakaima demanded the operations of the base to end within five years.

The defense minister also has expressed his intention to seek negotiations with the U.S. on changing the current SOFA along lines requested by Nakaima. Whether the U.S. side would agree to such talks is not clear at this moment.

Opponents of the Henoko plan gathered outside the prefectural office demanding Nakaima to disapprove the landfill request urging him to reconsider at the last minute when Nakaima’s decision became known late Thursday.

“We will not give up our fight no matter of what,” a demonstrator wowed in a local TV interview.