August 21, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo
The Japanese government announced August 20 that if construction were to be suspended due to Okinawa Prefecture’s revocation of approval for land reclamation activity, which is part of the plan to relocate MCAS Futenma to the Henoko neighborhood in Nago, Okinawa, they calculate that they would incur a loss of approximately million yen per day.
As a result, currently the government is considering seeking damages in the event that they win the current lawsuit suit regarding said revocation.
If Okinawa Prefecture is able to officially revoke the approval for land reclamation activity, the Japanese government loses the legal foundation for the Henoko relocation and construction would stop.
As a preventative measure, the Japanese government has petitioned the court for a stay to freeze the revocation from taking effect, and if the request is granted they are expected to request the freeze continue until construction can start in earnest.
The Japanese government’s calculation of a 20 million per day loss comes from things such as delays in personnel and material acquisition costs, and has the potential to reach as high as hundreds of millions of yen.
However, a government official said that the decision of whether or not to seek damages, “may change based on the result of Okinawa’s gubernatorial election,” and will base their decision on the situation at that time.
Construction was also suspended when the late Governor Onaga initially revoked the land reclamation approval in October of 2015.
The Supreme Court in Japan ruled this to be illegal in December of 2016, however the Japanese government did not seek damages at that time.
When asked about the possible seeking of damages at a press conference August 20, Vice Governor Kiichiro Jahana commented, “We are resolutely prepared.”
(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)