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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 October 24 - 30  > Professor: Defense Ministry unjustly uses law in order to keep Henoko project going
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2018 October 24 - 30 [POLITICS]

Professor: Defense Ministry unjustly uses law in order to keep Henoko project going

October 24, 2018
A law professor in an Akahata interview on October 24 said that the Defense Ministry abused the Administrative Complaint Review Act to launch an action against the Okinawa prefectural government in a bid to push forward with the controversial Henoko base project.

Based on the law, the Okinawa Defense Bureau requested the Land Minister to reverse the Okinawa prefectural government’s decision to retract the approval for reclamation work in the Henoko district to construct a new U.S. offshore base.

However, the Administrative Complaint Review Act is aimed at enabling private individuals to make complaints when their rights and interests are damaged by unjust acts by administrative authorities. Those who are in special government positions, such as state ministries, are not eligible to use this measure.

The defense bureau claims that the bureau can be regarded as a “private individual” who can resort to the complaint law because it obtained the Henoko landfill approval from the Okinawa government through the same procedures and the same criteria as private companies and other private individuals.

Commenting on this claim, Ryukoku University Professor Honda Takio pointed out that given that the Okinawa Defense Bureau is in a position different from private corporations, it is inappropriate for the bureau to use the law on administrative complaint. He added that if a construction company obtains a landfill approval, it will be put under the oversight of the prefectural government and can be ordered to change or stop its landfill project. On the other hand, Honda said, the bureau will not face such oversights.

Honda also said that the bureau fails to provide a convincing explanation for rights which the bureau insists on protection as “private individuals’ rights”. Citing the bureau’s argument that the stoppage of the landfill work will adversely affect the Japan-U.S. alliance, Honda said that this is nothing other than pursuing the interests of the Japanese government, not individuals. Concerning the bureau’s claim about difficulties that base construction contract companies will face if the project is cancelled, Honda said that that does not have a direct connection with the bureau and cannot be used for making the complaint.

Past related articles:
> State launches attack on Okinawa’s revocation of Henoko landfill approval [October 18, 2018]
> Henoko reclamation approval revoked [September 1, 2018]
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