The Defense Ministry on March 22 submitted a land reclamation application to Okinawa Prefecture to build a new airfield off Henoko, in the city of Nago, that would replace the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
The move is part of an agreement between Japan and the United States to relocate the Futenma base from its current location in the middle of the densely populated city of Ginowan.
But it can only be described as a long-shot attempt to break the impasse over the issue without laying the necessary groundwork.
Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima is to decide whether to accept the application in about eight months.
We have argued in our editorials that applying to Okinawa for the land reclamation despite strong opposition from an overwhelming majority of the people there would only complicate the situation.
Unfortunately, the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has turned that worrisome prospect into reality.
Nakaima on March 22 said: “How is it possible to do it when all 41 municipalities (in Okinawa Prefecture) are opposed? I just can’t understand it.”
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