Governor ready to nullify Henoko landfill permit

Based on the findings of a special report on the approval process of the Henoko landfill, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga stressed in a meeting with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga in Tokyo, Friday, that the landfill permit is legally flawed.

After the meeting when interviewed for an article in a nationwide weekly, the governor went as far as to say that he was ready to nullify the permit in order to eliminate the legal basis for the government’s project to build the replacement facility for MCAS Futenma off Camp Schwab in Henoko.

The governor’s stance is sure to intensify the fight over the controversial construction project as nullifying the landfill permit would force the central government to continue the landfill without the permission from the prefectural government as required by law.

In their meeting Onaga briefed Suga on the panels’ findings of legal flaws in the approval granted in December 2013 by then Governor Hirokazu Nakaima.

In his response, Suga asked Onaga to continue dialogue. The chief cabinet secretary said he is aware of the report but said he hoped that the governor would continue talks with the central government based on previous developments. Suga also indicated that stopping the work might be difficult.

As for officially nullifying the landfill permit, Onaga has not clarified the exact date, but sources familiar with his thinking say that an announcement can be expected in late August. In his interview, Onaga reportedly said that, “It’s a matter of timing.”

As both sides muss their next steps, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the matter will end up in courts to settle.

23:50 25 Feb , 2024