Tamaki fumes at landfill at Henoko, delay of Futenma return

Category: [ Politics ]

Dump trucks continue pouring gravel and soil into Oura Bay at the construction site of the replacement facility for MCAS Futenma in Henoko, Nago City, despite crowds of protesters outside of the fence of Camp Schwab demanding the work to stop.

The landfilling work by the Okinawa Defense Bureau started on Dec. 14th and has continued since only temporarily stopping when the sand carried to the site on ships ran out and they had to return for new loads.

Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki visited Henoko on Dec. 15th and wowed the prefecture would take every possible step to stop the work. Tamaki also participated in a protest meeting in front of the Camp Schwab main gate, where he emphasized, he would never give up. He implored the central government to think what is the true meaning of democracy, and asked for continued discourse between the prefecture and government on the relocation plan.

At the seawall built to contain the landfill, dump trucks carried soil and dropped it in the planned site. By the evening of Dec. 15th all soil from the barges was dumped in the sea and the work was stopped until new loads of soil arrived.

The barges carried the soil from the Ryukyu Cement pier in Awa, Nago City.

On the same day, the prefecture sent a notification to the Defense Bureau, faulting the bureau of failing to take appropriate steps required by the Okinawa Prefectural Ordinance for Prevention of Red Soil Outflow.

Takeshi Iwaya, the Minister of Defense, said on Dec. 14th in Tokyo that it would be difficult to close the MCAS Futenma by the planned 2020 deadline because Okinawa Prefecture first approved the landfill and later rescinded the permission causing a delay in the construction schedule. In Okinawa, Governor Tamaki responded immediately asking when would Futenma be returned. He insisted that blaming the prefecture for such a delay is not acceptable in a democratic country.

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