Arguments fly both ways while Henoko construction continues

As the fight over the construction of a replacement facility for MCAS Futenma in Henoko continues, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga issued an order to Okinawa Defense Bureau to temporarily suspend placing big concrete blocks on the reef at the construction site on Mar. 28. However, the Defense Bureau ignored the order and continued the work against the governor’s order on Mar. 29.

Opponents of the projects observing the construction work near Nagashima off the coast of Henoko said that a large crane ship had placed at least seven blocks on the ocean floor.

The Okinawa Defense Bureau submitted documents stating its position to Okinawa prefecture on Mar. 29, arguing in the documents that it considers the environmental protection measures sufficient. It also explained that there is no problem because the silt-curtain they have in place follows the contents of the application for the permission. “Based on above mentioned facts, we recognize that we do not have to stop the work,” the bureau documents argued.

The Okinawa Prefecture Fishery Division dispatched staff to Henoko in the afternoon of Mar. 29 to check on the construction situation, but they were not able to observe the placing of the blocks.

The time limit for the permission to destroy shore reefs that Okinawa Prefecture granted to the Defense Bureau expires on Mar. 31st.

The prefecture plans to dispatch a fisheries’ patrol boat to the site after Apr. 1st to inspect the state of the construction and shore reef destruction work.

In addition the prefecture is considering a lawsuit based on article 52 of Fisheries Adjustment Act, to demand a halt for the construction, and a provisional injunction.

On its part, the Okinawa Defense Bureau plans to keep continuing the construction work, emphasizing that they do not need to reapply for the permission for shore reef destruction as the Nago City Fishermen’s Cooperative has waived their fishery rights to the area.