Possibility grows of Onaga revoking Henoko landfill approval
An independent panel Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga set up to investigate the validity of the Henoko landfill approval for the replacement facility of MCAS Futenma that his predecessor Hirokazu Nakaima approved in Dec. 2013 is set to submit its findings later this month.
The governor will then study the panel’s report and decide whether to revoke the landfill permit in August.
Although the panel has not yet submitted its findings to the governor, the panel is expected to report finding flaws in the process that led to the previous governor to approve the landfill, and that would give the governor a reason to revoke the permit.
The United States also last month reportedly voiced concerns that the panel’s findings would delay the relocation of the MCAS Futenma, while the Japanese central government has sought to assure the U.S. side that the work will proceed without delay. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga insisted Sunday that the approval by the former governor was “flawless.”
Sources familiar with the panel’s work said that it has concluded that the former governor overlooked some issues, and those would constitute a valid reason for revoking the approval.
If the governor revokes the permit, as is widely expected, the central government is sure to take the case to the courts, where the government is confident that its case would prevail.
The reclamation work is scheduled to begin this summer, although many expect further delays ahead.