Governor orders halt to Henoko construction work
The fight over the construction work on the MCAS Futenma relocation site off Camp Schwab intensified Monday as Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga ordered the Japanese Defense Ministry Okinawa Defense Bureau to partly suspend the work.
Following Onaga’s order, a Defense Ministry spokesman in Tokyo said that they would not stop the work, and insisted that Onaga had no grounds to order them to do so as they have followed the agreement made with Okinawa’s previous administration to the letter.
The dispute centers on five large concrete blocks that the Okinawa Defense Bureau contractors had installed over the reef destroying some coral in the process. The blocks are intended to anchor the floating piers and other equipment needed to build the runways. The ministry’s plans call for another 32 blocks to be installed in the area.
According to Onaga, the blocks have destroyed some coral and are located outside the area that was approved. He adds that the Okinawa Prefectural Government is preparing to launch an investigation in the matter by the end of the month.
When former Governor Hirokazu Nakaima approved bureau’s plan in August last year he attached a condition that the builders follow instructions from the prefecture to protect the reefs. Onaga now claims the installment of the blocks violates that condition.