Okinawa Gov Hirokazu Nakaima on Monday submitted a written opinion to the Defense Ministry's Naha bureau on the central government's environmental impact assessment report on plans to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station at Futenma.
Nakaima said plans to move the base to the planned landfill area of the Henoko coastal area in Nago were flawed and that any base would destroy the natural environment, TBS reported.
The report was delivered to the Okinawan government in Naha under almost farcical circumstances in December. After protesters stopped couriers from delivering the report, it was sneaked into city hall about 4 a.m. the next morning.
In theory, Nakaima -- under Japanese law -- has the final say on whether or not to permit the reclaiming of land at Henoko that is vital to the base construction.
But Nakaima, who owes no allegiance to Tokyo, has consistently maintained his opposition to the plan. He has said all along that he would not approve the relocation plan.
The report said that nature would suffer little if a giant runway-on-stilts was built in turquoise seas by a pristine shoreline. But Okinawan officials say the habitat of the rare dugong -- a marine mammal -- would be badly damaged if the base was built at Henoko, were irate at the apparent move.
Nakaima reiterated his long-held view that the Futenma base must be moved outside Okinawa and that Tokyo must consider Okinawans' feelings on the issue in its negotiations with the U.S.© Japan Today/AFP