Panel Rejects Okinawa Request On Base Issue


Panel rejects Okinawa request on base issue

A governmental arbitration panel has rejected a request by the Okinawa prefectural government to examine a dispute with the central government over a landfill project to relocate a US military base within the prefecture.

The southwestern prefecture filed the request in April with the Central and Local Government Dispute Management Council.

Okinawa insisted that the land minister's decision to annul the prefecture's retraction of its permission to conduct the landfill work was illegal.

The panel members on Monday unanimously decided to reject Okinawa's request.

They said the minister's decision does not qualify as a dispute that requires the council's examination.

In February, the council made a similar decision after Okinawa sought arbitration in November to block the landfill work.

Okinawa then insisted that the land minister's decision to temporarily suspend the prefecture's retraction of its permission to conduct landfill work was illegal.

Council chair Kazuhiro Tomikoshi told reporters the argument made by Okinawa was the same as the one it made the previous time, so the council's decision is also the same as the one it reached in February.

The ongoing landfill work is part of a plan to relocate the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Ginowan City to the less-populated Henoko district of Nago City.