OPG takes Tokyo to court over Henoko plan
The fight over the MCAS Futenma relocation to Henoko again escalated as the Okinawa Prefectural Government took the central government to the court after the legal moves the central government had made to override the governor’s decision to nullify the Henoko landfill permit.
The Okinawa Prefectural Government filed the lawsuit at the Naha District Court on Friday after the third party panel that is designated to settle disputes between the central and local governments refused to review Okinawa’s complaint.
The unusual feud has been escalating since Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga revoked on Oct. 13 the landfill permit that Onaga’s predecessor had granted to the central government, which is insisting on building the replacements facility on Camp Schwab in Henoko, and the governor and Okinawa Prefectural Government as steadfastly oppose.
“This couldn’t be helped to protect the pride and dignity of the people of the prefecture,” Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga said at a news conference on Friday when announcing the filing of the lawsuit.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga in Tokyo acknowledged that the dispute is now in the hands of the courts to settle.
Meanwhile, the work on the construction site continues with the central government insisting that it has every right to do so. Okinawa has countered with an urgent plea to the court to suspend the work on the basis of possible environmental damage. The prefectural government insists that, “The work needs to stop immediately, as there is no way to restore the environment once it’s been destroyed by the construction.”
The central government on its part sticks to its position that building the Henoko facility is the “only option” to remove the dangers of the MCAS Futenma in its current location while effectively maintaining its deterrence in the security situation in the region.