Okinawa Gov. Refuses to Comply with Land Minister Over Issues Related to Planned U.S. Base Relocation

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki

Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki on Wednesday decided to not comply with the instruction of Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Tetsuo Saito to approve proposed design changes to construction work related to the planned relocating of U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture to the Henoko district in Nago.

The minister set the approval deadline for Wednesday, but Tamaki said it was not possible to decide whether to approve by that deadline.

The government plans to start the process of issuing approval on behalf of the governor on Thursday at the earliest.

Under a Supreme Court ruling in September, the Okinawa prefectural government is legally obligated to approve the proposed design changes, and the land ministry has issued recommendations and instructions to Tamaki for approval.

It is highly unusual for the head of a local government to refuse to accept a final judicial decision.