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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 April 22 - May 12  > Abe gov’t prioritizes US base project in Henoko over anti-corona efforts
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2020 April 22 - May 12 [POLITICS]

Abe gov’t prioritizes US base project in Henoko over anti-corona efforts

April 22, 2020
Amid coronavirus infections spreading at a fairly rapid speed in Okinawa, the Defense Ministry’s local bureau on April 21 applied to the prefectural government for approval to change the current project design in order to effectively deal with the soft sea bottom at the planned construction site for the new U.S. base in the Henoko district in Okinawa’s Nago City.

Later on the same day at a press conference in the prefectural office building, Okinawa Governor Tamaki Denny expressed his intent to reject the bureau’s application. The governor said, “The Abe government keeps refusing to accept our requests for holding dialogue with us and providing detailed information. It just seeks to push forward with the Henoko reclamation work associated with the new base project which is totally unacceptable.”

Okinawans have expressed their opposition to the new U.S. base construction on numerous occasions, including in the last two gubernatorial elections and the 2019 February referendum. On top of this, in Okinawa, the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing faster than in other prefectures. Among confirmed COVID-19 patients, there are workers engaged in Henoko base construction-related works. Consequently, the Okinawa Defense Bureau has had to suspend the construction work.

Nevertheless, the bureau maintains its intent to go forward with procedures for the improvement of the soft seafloors at the Henoko construction site based on a green light given by an expert panel attached to the bureau.

Co-head of the anti-U.S. heliport council Ashitomi Hiroshi said, “In defiance of the ongoing fight against the coronavirus in every part of the world including Japan, the local bureau bulldozed through the application for a design change approval. This represents the Abe government’s anti-people nature of prioritizing its own interests over the interests of the general public.”

Tateishi Masaaki, professor emeritus of geology at Niigata University, said, “The total budget for the Henoko project has ballooned by nearly three times over the initial budget estimate. The government should give up on moving forward with the Henoko project and instead use this money to combat the corona crisis.”

Past related articles:
>Akahata Sunday edition finds data coverup in regard to soft seafloors at Henoko [February 9, 2020]
> It’s high time Abe gov’t accepts Okinawans’ firm opposition to Henoko base project [July 25, 2019]
>Mayonnaise sea bottom will lead Henoko base project to dead end [January 22, 2019]
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