TOKYO — The fisheries minister on Monday notified the Okinawa prefectural government of his decision to suspend Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga’s instruction to halt preparatory work for the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station within Okinawa Prefecture.
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi made the decision after studying an appeal from the Defense Ministry, which argued that a halt to the ongoing seabed work to prepare for land reclamation would delay the construction work tied to the planned relocation of the U.S. base from Ginowan to the Henoko district of Nago. The ministry said such a delay would leave unchanged the dangers posed by the Futenma air base.
“After taking into account both [the claims by the Defense Ministry and the governor], I made a decision on the matter. The Okinawa prefectural government’s instruction will be suspended,” Hayashi said at a press conference at the Diet Building on Monday morning.
Criticizing the minister’s announcement, speaking to reporters in Naha, Onaga said: “It’s hard to believe the decision was made fairly and neutrally. It’s truly disappointing.”