2018: Military Base Construction at Henoko-Oura Bay

Okinawa. Henoko. Camp Schwab. 
The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 16 | Issue 2 | Number 1 | Jan 16, 2018
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus.

U.S. Military Base Construction at Henoko-Oura Bay and the Okinawan Governor’s Strategy to Stop It
Hideki Yoshikawa
with an introduction by Gavan McCormack

This paper analyses the present (2018) state of the struggle between the government of Japan and the government and people of the prefecture of Okinawa, focussing on its most recent phase, since the Okinawan prefectural complaint was dismissed by the Supreme Court in December 2016. Governor Onaga then revoked his 2015 cancellation of the 2013 license to reclaim parts of Oura Bay as site for the base construction and works resumed in April 2017 after one year in suspension. Since then, Governor Onaga has repeatedly declared that he will rescind the license under which those works are being carried out, but has given no indication as to when. Work now continues, at an accelerating pace, and the Governor has recently issued permits allowing ports in Northern Okinawa to be used for transport of construction materials. This paper analyses the apparent contradictions in the Governor's stance and the way they are understood within the protest movement.

The Asia-Pacific Journal – Japan Focus is pleased to present Hideki Yoshikawa’s account of recent developments in the ongoing (20-year) contest between the people and government of Okinawa and the governments of the United States and Japan.

Readers of this journal will be well aware of the general tenor of this struggle, of the reversal of his anti-base construction stance by then Governor Nakaima in December 2013, allowing the national government to commence works to reclaim part of Oura Bay in Northern Okinawa (offshore from Henoko) for base construction. Ten months later, in December 2014, an aroused electorate dismissed Nakaima from office and delivered the Governorship (by a massive, 100,000 vote majority) to an avowed opponent of the reclamation/base construction plan, Onaga Takeshi. Another ten months followed before Onaga duly (in October 2015) “cancelled” (torikeshi) the reclamation license. From November 2015, the dispute was subjected to a series of judicial and semijudicial actions. Works were suspended for one year from March 2016, but the main proceedings issued in a December 2016 Supreme Court ruling that found against the prefecture. The Governor thereupon “cancelled” (torikeshi) his original cancelation order, and site works resumed in April 2017. The prefecture launched a related suit in the Naha District Court July 2017 seeking a suspension of the Bay works, but as of January 2018 no judgment has yet issued.

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