Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 June 24 - 30  > Gov’t should cancel not only Aegis Ashore but also Henoko base construction
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2020 June 24 - 30 [POLITICS]

Gov’t should cancel not only Aegis Ashore but also Henoko base construction

June 25, 2020

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

In reaction to Defense Minister Kono Taro announcing his decision to suspend the plan to deploy the “Aegis Ashore “ground-based missile defense systems in Japan, the public call for the cancellation of the construction of a new U.S. base in Nago City’s Henoko district in Okinawa is growing. As a reason for his decision, Kono cited problems of cost and time constraints. In that case, why doesn’t the government give up on the new base construction in Henoko which will cost more money and time than the Aegis Ashore deployment does? The government’s double standard employed with the ground-based Aegis Ashore plan and the Henoko base project is unacceptable.

The Defense Ministry chose the Ground Self-Defense Force Mutsumi training field (Hagi City and Abu Town in Yamaguchi Prefecture) and the GSDF Araya training field (Akita City, Akita Prefecture) as candidate sites for the deployment of Aegis Ashore facilities. When announcing the suspension of the planned deployment at a press conference on June 15, Defense Minister Kono said that it is not reasonable to proceed with the deployment plan as a costly and time-consuming technical issue concerning booster rockets has come to light. Explaining the issue, Kono said that booster rockets of interceptor missiles cannot land precisely on training fields or into the sea, which means that the boosters can potentially fall onto private land and endanger lives. He said that would take more than 220 billion yen and 12 years to fix this problem.

Following the announcement of the halt to the Aegis Ashore deployment plan, Okinawa Governor Tamaki Denny on June 16 issued a comment stating, “In addition to the Aegis Ashore deployment plan, the government should abandon the Henoko base project which will also consume considerable amounts of money and time.”

It has been revealed that in part of the sea area in Oura Bay which the Defense Ministry intends to reclaim to construct the new base, a very soft seafloor exists to a depth of 90 meters. A ground improvement work which is unprecedented in Japan is necessary and the Defense Ministry estimates that the new base construction will cost around 930 billion yen and take 12 years to complete.

An Okinawa Prefectural government expert panel, whose members include former high-ranking officials of the Defense and Foreign ministries, in its proposal in March pointed out that technical and financial feasibility of the Henoko base construction is questionable. Both the Aegis Ashore system deployment and the Henoko base project are technically and financially difficult to realize and politically impossible due to local opposition. It is obvious that it is not reasonable to go forward with the U.S. base construction in Henoko.

Past related articles:
> Aegis Ashore deployment plan should be abandoned altogether: JCP Kokuta [June 16, 2020]
> JCP Kokuta demands cancellation of plan to deploy land-based Aegis Ashore [June 7, 2018]
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved