Okinawa files appeal on high court Henoko ruling
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga filed an appeal Friday against a high court ruling that deemed illegal his refusal to withdraw his order to revoke a Henoko landfill permit that had been approved by his predecessor Hirokazu Nakaima. The permit is necessary for building the replacement facility for MCAS Futenma to Henoko.
The central government filed a lawsuit in July at the Naha branch of Fukuoka High Court seeking to nullify Onaga’s order and reinstate the original permit on the grounds that Onaga’s action was illegal. The court said in its ruling on Sep. 16 that the landfill work off the Henoko coast is the only solution to remove the damage caused by the base on local residents. The court also noted that there were “no irrational points” in the reclamation approval that the previous Governor Hirokazu Nakaima had given in December 2013, and thus ruled that Onaga’s cancellation of the approval was illegal.
The court also fully agreed with the government’s argument that it’s impossible to move the air operations to a separate location from the Marines it’s supposed to support and work with.
The prefecture insisted that the original landfill approval did not meet requirements for environmental protection under the public waters reclamation law and was thus illegal.
After filing the appeal for the ruling to the Supreme Court, the governor said in a statement that the high court ruling should be considered as unjust because the court wrongly interpreted the Japanese Constitution, the local autonomy law and the public waters reclamation law.
“As the ruling is totally unacceptable, we will seek a Supreme Court ruling that the cancellation of the landfill approval is legally justifiable,” Onaga stated. “The ruling that excessively takes the side of the central government…will leave a serious problem to the future,”
The top court is expected to issue its ruling in March next year at the earliest. If the court rules against Okinawa, the governor is expected to retract his revocation but continue to seek for other ways to block the Henoko construction project.