Okinawa Governor Stands Firm Against Henoko Design Changes as Land Minister Steps in to Approve Plans

Okinawa Governor Defies Court Order on U.S. Military Base Relocation

In a bold move, Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki has declared that he will not give his approval for design changes related to the relocation of a U.S. military base, despite a ruling by the Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court ordering him to do so by a certain date.

The Defense Ministry had submitted a request to the prefectural government for design changes aimed at improving the ground in the Henoko coastal area in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture. This area is where the functions of the U.S. Futenma Air Station in Ginowan in the prefecture are to be relocated.

The Fukuoka High Court’s ruling will open the door for Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Tetsuo Saito to approve the application on behalf of the Okinawa governor. Saito is expected to kickstart the necessary procedures soon, which will mark the first time that the central government will take on the responsibilities of a local government in place of the governor.

Even though Tamaki has hinted that he may seek an appeal from the Supreme Court, the minister’s authority to act will remain in effect unless the top court overturns the ruling. This unprecedented situation sets the stage for a potential clash between the Okinawa governor and the central government.

The contentious issue of the U.S. military base relocation in Okinawa has sparked heated debates and protests for years. The prefecture has long been a focal point of tensions between the local government and the central authorities over the military presence in the region.

Tamaki’s defiant stance against the court ruling is likely to further escalate the already strained relations between the local and central governments. The governor’s decision not to comply with the court’s order signifies a significant challenge to the authority of the central government and could have serious ramifications for the future of the U.S. military presence in Okinawa.

As tensions continue to simmer, all eyes are on the Supreme Court and whether it will intervene to resolve this unprecedented power struggle between the Okinawa governor and the central government. In the meantime, the standoff over the U.S. military base relocation in Okinawa shows no signs of abating, as the region remains at the center of a contentious and increasingly fraught debate.


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