March 26, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo
Regarding construction of the Futenma replacement facility in Henoko, Nago City as part of relocating MCAS Futenma, Okinawa’s lawsuit requesting cancellation of the Land Minister’s decision to cancel the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG)’s revocation of permission for land reclamation, based on the claim that the Minister’s decision is illegal, was dismissed at its final appeal to the Supreme Court First Bench (Judge Takuya Miyama presiding) at 3:00 p.m. on March 26.
This ruling upheld the Fukuoka High Court Naha Branch’s ruling that the Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB)’s use of the Administrative Appeal act as a “private citizen” was not illegal, and the OPG has lost its lawsuit.
The Administrative Appeal Act is meant to protect the legal rights and interests of private citizens.
In August 2018, the OPG revoked its previous land reclamation permission on the basis of, inter alia, the discovery of soft ground on the Oura Bay side of the planned area for land reclamation.
The ODB lodged a formal objection, based on the Administrative Appeal Act, to the OPG’s revocation, and Land Minister Keiichi Ishii made the decision to cancel the OPG’s revocation.
The OPG claimed that this decision was an abuse of the system and illegal, and the “Committee for Settling National-Local Disputes”, a third-party entity of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, investigated the matter but rejected the OPG’s claim, and then the OPG filed a lawsuit addressing this matter in July 2019.
In October, the case was first seen in the Fukuoka High Court Naha Branch, the OPG’s claim was rejected, and the OPG has now lost the case.
The OPG has separately filed another lawsuit seeking cancellation, based on the Administrative Litigation Act, of the ruling and this lawsuit is currently being contested in the Naha District Court.
(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)