Tokyo Overrides Okinawa Government, Green Lights U.S. Marine Air Base Construction

The central Japanese government has taken the unprecedented step of overriding a local prefecture under the Local Autonomy Act.

The Fukuoka High Court ordered Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki  to allow the United States Marine Corps to relocate an air base from the Futenma airfield in a crowded residential district in Ginowan to the less populated Henoko coastal area of Nago.

Governor Tamaki has ignored several court decisions ordering him to allow the relocation. He has been refusing because a majority of Okinawa residents want the air base to relocate out of the prefecture. Okinawa residents feel that they share the majority of the burden of hosting U.S. forces stationed in Japan.

The relocation, now that the national government has forced it, is set to be a major project. Two V-shaped runways are set to be built. However, ground in Henoko must be reclaimed from the sea. Government contractors must construct a landfill with concrete in order to reinforce the soft ground. Ground hardening is set to begin in January.

Futenma is not expected to be completely reclaimed by civilians until 2028 due to decontamination and demilitarization.

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Ethan Alun
Ethan Alun
A United States Naval Academy and American Military University Alumni, Ethan covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.
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