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Futenma Environmental Report Being Submitted

Date Posted: 2011-12-30

The controversial environmental impact assessment report on the planned relocation of the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station from Ginowan to a sparsely populated region in the north will be in the Okinawa governor’s hands any time now.

The Japanese central government sent the 7,000-page report by courier from Tokyo to Naha, hoping to avoid confrontations with protesters who don’t want the environmental report to even be presented for consideration by Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, but it didn’t quite work out that way. A courier was rebuffed twice by protesters Tuesday, being jostled, pushed and shoved by demonstrators before he gave up and drove away.
The service indicated other less obtrusive efforts will be made to deliver the document.

Nakaima has been telling protesters and demonstrators there’s nothing he can do to prevent the central government from submitting the environmental report which he must evaluate and approve before land reclamation on the island’s northeastern coast can take place. He says he’ll accept the massive report, but won’t take action on it.

Tokyo’s original plan was to have Defense Ministry officials with the Okinawa Defense Bureau hand deliver the report to the Okinawa Prefecture Government on Monday, but that plan was called off after protesters began gathering in front of the prefectural government office building to interfere with the presentation.

Local civic groups began protests early Monday to voice opposition to the central government's submission of the report to Okinawa. Despite the report being mailed, demonstrators were expected to remain in and around the prefecture government offices throughout the week, voicing their opposition to the entire relocation project that would involve filling in land at Oura Bay adjacent to the Marine Corps base at Camp Schwab, the first steps to constructing a pair of V-shape 2,500-meter runways to replace Futenma’s operations in central Ginowan.
Protesters are calling the government’s decision to mail the report “underhanded” as it would deny the governor the opportunity to quiz government officials about the contents of the mammoth document. The 7,000+ pages are believed to contain complete explanations as to how the government intends to accomplish the relocation project, which was first begun more than four years ago. Government officials have reportedly taken extreme measures to insure that every aspect of the controversy is explained, including environmental impact and the countermeasures planned to protect the lives of local residents.

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