2018: The Henoko Base Project


The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 16 | Issue 24 | Number 2 | Dec 15, 2018
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus

The Henoko Base Project: Okinawa’s Tamaki Government at the Brink

Gavan McCormack

Since the death of Okinawan Governor Onaga Takeshi on 8 August, the Henoko base construction plan has been in flux. With the issues coming to a head, the media in Japan and the world shows ever less interest, easing the way for the Abe government to have its way. Crucial phases in the long-running contest between state and prefecture have been noted many times, but perhaps none is comparable to today as the commencement of works to reclaim the base site on Oura Bay is imminent.1

The prefecture proceeded following the death of Onaga with cancellation (31 August) of the permit for reclamation works. On 30 September it then elected Tamaki Denny as Onaga’s successor (with an 80,000 majority). Once in office, Tamaki repeatedly called for talks on the base issue with the national government. In due course talks, billed as “concentrated discussions” (shuchu kyogi) took place in November, but only after the Abe Government’s Minister for Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Ishii Kei-ichi, on 30 October issued an order suspending the effect of the Prefecture’s August cancellation of the license to reclaim the Henoko site on Oura Bay. By the highly unusual procedure of one section of government declaring the acts of another to be legal and proper, the way was cleared to resume works.2 Only then would the national government agree to the “talks” with Okinawa. ....

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