Tokyo's plans to build new US base possibly scuppered
Updated: 2015-03-24 09:53
Protesters against the relocation of US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma stage a rally in front of Camp Schwab, an American base near a planned relocation site, in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, March 23, 2015. [Photo/IC]
Onaga, who became governor in December on the back of a campaign to stop the construction of the new US base in the picturesque Henoko region of the island, has consistently said that drilling operations by the defense ministry will cause irrevocable damage to the local environment, a claim that the central government has brushed aside, previously stating that it will carry on "without making a fuss," while making sure the environment around the site will be preserved.
Describing the actions of the defense ministry as "utterly deplorable" Onaga has urged the regional bureau to remove the concrete slabs and do its utmost to restore the damage they've done to the marine life there.
In addition the prefectural government has told the central government that once the permit has been revoked -- a move that may come within a week -- the defense ministry will be unable to continue with its drilling survey in the area, and its construction plans could be quashed.
The central government, for its part, said they were disappointed with Onaga's stance as it was straining ties between Tokyo and Okinawa over the relocation issue and suggested that it would forge ahead with its plans, despite mounting local opposition from the prefectural government and the island's citizens
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference Monday that" "We are going to pursue construction work without delay."