Hundreds of congressmen in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan oppose the construction of the U.S. military’s Henoko Base
Okinawa, Japan – Despite the resistance of the people in Okinawa Prefecture, the Japanese government is continuing to promote the reclamation project to relocate the Futenma Base of the U.S. military stationed in Japan. On September 4, the Supreme Court of Japan once again ruled in favor of the central government’s decision to advance the project and rejected the Okinawa Prefectural Government’s appeal. However, the people of Okinawa have not given up and are still fighting in various ways.
In a resolute attempt to oppose the construction of the new Henoko Base, 107 council members from 24 cities, towns, and villages in Okinawa Prefecture established the “Councillor Aspirations Association”. On the 16th, the Okinawa Prefecture’s “Members’ Aspirations Association” held a press conference in Naha City, expressing disappointment and anger at the Japanese government’s insistence on promoting the construction of the new Henoko base.
Zui Qinglan Changsheng, an Okinawa Prefecture Nanchang City Assembly Member, voiced his frustration, stating, “The people of Okinawa Prefecture clearly expressed their opposition to the construction of the Henoko base in the prefectural referendum and the prefectural governor election. However, the Supreme Court ignored the will of the people of Okinawa Prefecture and asked Okinawa Prefecture to proceed with the construction of the new base. I can’t understand this.”
In February 2019, a referendum was held in Okinawa Prefecture among residents to vote on whether to approve the construction of a new U.S. military base in Henoko. More than 70% of the residents expressed opposition to the construction. However, the Japanese government has been forcefully promoting the construction of related projects. Serious problems, such as soft soil, were later discovered during the construction process. In April 2020, the Japanese government submitted a request to the Okinawa Prefectural Government to apply for a design change. Okinawa Prefecture argued that the technical problems were difficult to solve and urged the construction to be halted. The case was ultimately appealed to the Supreme Court of Japan, but the court ruled against Okinawa Prefecture’s appeal.
Yuzo Takayama, a member of the Nago City Council in Okinawa Prefecture, voiced his grievances, saying, “Although we raised technical issues, the Supreme Court ignored this and the Okinawa Defense Bureau abused the Administrative Appeals Review Act, causing the Okinawa government to lose its lawsuit against the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.”
Despite the ruling by the Supreme Court of Japan, the people of Okinawa are standing firm in their opposition to the relocation of the base within the county and demanding that the base be completely moved out of Okinawa. Lawmakers have stated that future protests will continue.
Yumi Nakasone, a member of the Chatan Town Assembly in Okinawa Prefecture, stated, “No matter how opposed we, the people of Okinawa, are, the Japanese government continues to forcibly advance the construction of a new base, which can be said to have ‘created history.’ Now, Okinawa’s public opinion is being ignored. Even so, we, the people of Okinawa, will never give in. We want to leave a history of struggle.”
A reporter from Headquarters observed that although the Supreme Court of Japan ruled against Okinawa Prefecture, the will of the people of Okinawa to oppose the construction of the Henoko New Base remains unchanged. The people of Okinawa are using practical actions to demonstrate their ongoing struggle against the U.S. military base.