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Okinawa governor threatens to file injunction against Henoko base construction work

NAHA -- Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga said on March 16 that he was considering filing an injunction against the central government's construction work to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan to the Henoko area in Nago in the prefecture.

    He stated he would take legal action if the central government were to continue with construction work to relocate the U.S. base to Henoko in April and thereafter. He made the statement after the central government informed the Okinawa Prefectural Government of its decision not to refile an application with the local government for permission for work that involves destroying rocks and stones in the sea off Henoko, which expires at the end of March.

    Onaga said that if he filed the injunction, he would also file a temporary injunction demanding the government suspend the overall construction work.

    On March 15, the central government sent the Okinawa Prefectural Government a document showing the Fisheries Agency's view that it would be unnecessary to have the governor's permission to conduct work that involves breaking rocks and stones in the sea off Henoko because the Nago Fisheries Cooperative Association voted to give up fishing rights in and near the waters where the U.S. base is scheduled to be built. The central government has shown its plan to continue the construction work even in April and thereafter, a move certain to push the state and the Okinawa Prefectural Government into a fresh court battle.

    Onaga refuted the central government, saying at a news conference that there had been no cases in the past in which the state deemed it unnecessary to obtain permission from the Okinawa governor on the grounds that some of the fishing rights were relinquished. In reference to the Fisheries Agency's view, Onaga said, "It contradicts the state's conventional view and we can only take it as being arbitrarily changed for the sake of the relocation to Henoko."

    Onaga went on to criticize the central government, saying, "It highlighted the state's insistence that Henoko is the only option. If the national government is allowed to operate laws based on views which are convenient to the state, the stability of laws is threatened."

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