Final “intensive” talks on Henoko to take place Monday
The final round of “intensive” talks between the Government of Japan and Okinawa Prefecture to resolve the dispute over the construction of the replacement facility for MCAS Futenma in Henoko will take place in Tokyo on Monday.
According to government sources, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will join the talks for the first time. Four ministers, who are involved in the transfer plan are also scheduled to join the talks.
From Okinawa, Governor Takeshi Onaga will attend, but officials from Ginowan City, the current host of the MCAS Futenma, and Nago, of which the planned replacement site in Henoko is part of, are not going to be present the talks as the central government sees the dispute as a matter to be resolved between the governments in Tokyo and Okinawa Prefecture.
The work on the site is currently on hold, but the one-month-long suspension period is scheduled to end and the work resume Wednesday unless the Monday talks bring a solution to the impasse. The previous four rounds of talks have seen no progress in the dispute.
Okinawa Prefecture crews are currently inspecting the construction site in order to determine whether the government survey work has damaged the reefs outside the area, to which the previous Okinawa administration granted a permission. If any damage outside of the area is found that would give Governor Onaga more grounds to revoke the permit, and the case would certainly go to the courts.
The central government has wowed to continue the work regardless whether the governor revokes the permission.
On its part, officials at the Okinawa prefectural government intend to call for continuing talks even if the two sides fail to make progress.