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Henoko explorations continue despite prolonged objections

Date Posted: 2004-11-12

Plans for shifting Futenma Marine Corps Air Station to a northern Okinawa location in the coming decade continue to move forward.

Despite opposition from ecologists, as well as some political organizations, the Defense Facilities Administration Bureau continues its geological surveys in the waters off Henoko, near Nago City. The surveys and tests are preliminary to constructing the new airport and airfield which will replace Futenma, which is largely unpopular with Okinawans, and which is considered unsafe.

A floating crane is the centerpiece of current surveys, moving from Nakagusuko Port on Okinawa’s eastside to the controversial site, where the environmental objections stem from fears the construction will destroy the dudongs living in the area. Dudongs are a large water mammal similar to America’s manatee. The Dudong Network Okinawa has voiced its opposition to the project, and staged some demonstrations to show its displeasure.

The crane will be involved in ocean floor surveys and studies, mainly to a depth of 25 meters. The drilling is expected to be complete by Spring. Once scaffolding is in place, some 63 different drilling tests will be conducted to gather data on the underwater terrain. DFAB officials have asked opponents to remain patient until the test results are in and shared with them.

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