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Governor rejects Defense Agency environmental assessment

Date Posted: 2007-10-25

Okinawa’s governor is angry and upset with the Ministry of Self Defense environmental impact report on the proposed new U.S. military airfield to be located in Nago City’s jurisdiction.
Hirokazu Nakaima has blasted the government’s report, declaring “They are out of their minds. The Defense agency should listen to Nago City and Okinawan peoples’ opinions, and then make adjustments.” The governor has known of the report for more than a month, but had not commented until now.
Nothing has changed, the governor says. The agency sent the document to the Prefecture without correcting anything. Without changes, he says, “we can’t give the government approval for reclamation of the ocean. By law, the Prefecture must agree to reclamation efforts in Henoko Bay, where the government wants to build an airfield to replace the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in Ginowan City. The two V-shaped runways would be on Camp Schwab, with the runways extending into the bay.
Okinawa Prefecture, together with Nago City officials, want the landing strips moved farther from the shoreline in order to protect spawning turtles, and where currents would not affect operations. The Ministry of Self Defense has refused to make modifications to its proposed plan, which was presented to the Prefecture more than six weeks ago.
“I have to send our opinion to the government,” the governor says. “Otherwise the government thinks the Okinawa side has no objection to accepting the assessment.” Nakaima says he can’t “disregard the peoples’ opinions.” He says he’ll continue listening to opinions voiced by the mayors of Nago City and Ginoza Village, then draft a response to Tokyo by December 21st.

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