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Govt. to start seawall construction for US base

Japan’s Defense Ministry plans to start a new phase of works to relocate a US military base within the southern prefecture of Okinawa despite local opposition.

Ministry sources say that if weather permits, the Okinawa bureau will start constructing seawalls on Tuesday to surround an area where an alternative facility for the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station will be built.

The bureau began reclamation works in February and has installed silt fences to stop muddy water from spilling.

Workers will sink stones into the sea, and fill the encircled area with soil and sand.

The seawall construction marks the start of full-scale reclamation works. The walls are expected to make it difficult to return the area to its original state.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga has attempted to stop the relocation plan many times.

Onaga argues that the defense bureau has not obtained permission from the prefecture to destroy seabed rocks to install the fences.

He indicated that that he may file a lawsuit to seek a court order to stop the construction.

The US and Japanese governments agreed to relocate the air station from a densely populated area in Ginowan City to a coastal area of Nago City.

More than 3,500 protest new base in Henoko, governor announces intention to revoke land reclamation approval

On March 25, the “prefectural people’s rally calling for immediate cancellation of unlawful land reclamation work and abandonment of the plan to build a new base in Henoko”, organized by the All Okinawa Coalition to Prevent Construction of a New Base in Henoko, was held in front of the gate to the U.S. military’s Camp Schwab. According to organizer estimates, more than 3,500 participants joined the rally.

Governor Takeshi Onaga attended the rally and announced, “with strength, I will absolutely revoke” the approval to reclaim land off the shore of Henoko, which is needed build the new base. It was the first time Governor Onaga clearly stated his intention to revoke the land reclamation approval. It was also the first time the governor attended a citizens’ rally in Henoko since taking office.

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