Governor decides to nullify Henoko reclamation permit
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga is expected to begin steps to cancel the approval for the land reclamation work off the coast of Henoko after ‘intensive’ talks with the central government on the planned replacement facility for MCAS Futenma ended in a failure.
He is expected to announce his decision before departing for a U.N. meeting in Geneva on Sep. 19.
His decision to nullify the permit would put the central government in an unprecedented situation as it is determined to continue the reclamation work without the permission from the prefecture as required by law. The move will certainly move the fight to the courts.
By law the governor has to ask for an opinion from the Okinawa Defense Bureau that is in charge of the landfill project. It is estimated that it would take about a month for the bureau to prepare its response, and before Onaga can officially announce that the permit has been rescinded.
After the five rounds of ‘intensive’ talks ended without either side ready to compromise, the central government announced it would resume the reclamation work as soon as possible. This apparently prompted Onaga to decide to start the process to nullify the approval.
According to a source in the prefectural government who was briefed on Onaga’s decision, the governor is ready to put his political future on line to stop the base relocation within the prefecture, and force it moved to a location outside of Okinawa.