Henoko fight goes on

The latest moves in the fight over the Henoko construction plan were made Tuesday, when ruling parties in the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly submitted a draft of an ordinance that would make it difficult to transport sand from outside of the prefecture to the landfill area off Henoko.

According to supporters of the ordinance, the aim is to prevent the entry of alien species that may be included in such sand into Okinawa. However, the immediate aim seems to be to make it difficult for construction companies to bring the massive quantities of sand needed for the landfill into Okinawa from elsewhere, as there is not enough available within the prefecture.

The ordinance will go to vote at the assembly next month, and is likely to be approved with majority support from parties. It is expected to take effect Nov. 1st.

According to the draft ordinance, companies who want to bring sand or soil into the prefecture from outside, would have to submit the transportation plans in advance, and take measures to ensure that no alien species come with the sand. The governor would be authorized to order the cancellation of the plans if deemed necessary.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference in Tokyo that he would carefully watch debate on the ordinance. “I expect the Okinawa assembly will explain why the ordinance only targets sand used for reclamation,” he said.

At the same time, a senior Japanese Defense Ministry official said that it is not likely that the ongoing drilling survey off the Henoko can be completed this month as planned. The drilling has been going on, but because of bad weather conditions and other factors is late from schedule.

Originally, the reclamation work was planned to begin this summer, after the survey is completed by the end of this month, but now it seems likely that the start of the landfill will be delayed.

15:55 15 Jun , 2024