Onaga plans start of land fill review, visit to Tokyo.
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga said Monday that his team would start in January to comb through the approval process of the Henoko landfill approval for the planned relocation base for the MCAS Futenma.
Onaga said that he is in the process of putting together a team of experts to review the paperwork, and aims to have it ready by mid January. “If we find any legal flaw we’ll think about a way to cancel the landfill permit,” Onaga said.
Previous Governor Hirokazu Nakaima gave his approval to the landfill project in December a year ago, reversing his campaign promise to force the base out of Okinawa, and causing uproar among the base opponents. That eventually led to his defeat in the gubernatorial election on November when he sought a third term as a governor, and to Onaga’s win on the platform of opposing the base construction.
The opposition to the bases also led to the defeat of all Liberal Democratic Party candidates in Okinawa in this month’s general election.
Trouble is brewing for Onaga in Tokyo where, according to press reports, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is inclined to put the screws on Onaga by mulling to cut the next year’s Okinawa development budget that was promised to Nakaima when he agreed to the landfill permit.
Onaga has also announced his intention to travel to Tokyo this week to try to meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and other cabinet members. However, Suga has reportedly said that no one has time to meet Onaga if he comes. Onaga on his part counters that although such meetings have not been confirmed, “It’s important to exchange opinions in person with the central government leaders as Okinawa plays a major role in Japan’s security.”