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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 February 19 - 25  > I can’t recall: Okinawa governor at prefectural assembly on base relocation
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2014 February 19 - 25 TOP3 [OKINAWA]

I can’t recall: Okinawa governor at prefectural assembly on base relocation

February 22&25, 2014
Okinawa Governor Nakaima Hirokazu repeated on February 21 that he “cannot recall” the process of his approving the national government application for a landfill project to construct a new U.S. military base, at a special committee meeting in the prefectural assembly.

The Okinawa Prefectural Assembly decided earlier this month to set up a special investigation commission to examine the governor’s approval, with a majority vote of opposition parties, including the Japanese Communist Party. The assembly that day summoned Nakaima to an investigation committee meeting. This is the first time for a governor of Okinawa to be asked to attend a special commission as a sworn witness.

In defiance of his own election promise, Nakaima endorsed in December the central government request to reclaim the Henoko coastal area of Nago City to construct a new U.S. base. The Japanese and U.S. administrations plan to “relocate” the U.S. Futenma Air Station in Ginowan City to Nago’s Henoko district.

Regarding the reason he accepted the government application, Nakaima said, “Judging from a broad perspective, I had no choice but to approve the request because it met the standard required by the Public Water Area Reclamation Law.”

Assemblypersons pointed to the fact that the governor agreed in November to a report submitted by the prefecture’s environmental assessment committee which maintains that to balance environmental preservation with the base construction will be impossible. They asked the governor what made him do a complete about-face and accept the project the following month. Nakaima only said, “I cannot recall.”

Three days later, Nago City Mayor Inamine Susumu, who was re-elected in the January mayoral election with a campaign promise to block the construction plan, attended the investigation committee meeting as an unsworn witness.

Inamine sharply criticized Nakaima for giving a green light to the reclamation project without taking the least notice of his strong opposition on behalf of Nago residents.

“Okinawan people are against the planned relocation of the base within the prefecture. The only way to benefit local citizens is for the governor to revoke his endorsement,” he stressed.

Past related article:
> Okinawa Pref. Assembly to set up special investigation panel on governor’s approval of landfill project [February 15, 2014]
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