Functional reinforcement,not reduction of burden
The construction of a replacement facility for Futenma Air Station at Henoko, Nago City being promoted by the Government of Japan means filling Henoko's cape with soil, and building 2 1800-meter runways. The structure's height above sea-level will be 10 meters.
The government explains that the replacement facility will be less than one-third the size of Futenma Air Station, and is therefore related to reducing the base burden. The new facility, though, will have areas to stockpile ammunition and will be furnished with facilities such as a dike to moor ships. Through the process of promoting an environmental impact assessment of the additions not available at Futenma Air Station, the impact of the air base will become clear.
Timeline of Base Protest
A rape incident by three U.S. servicemen in 1995 increased momentum to reduce and integrate U.S. bases in Okinawa. In 1996, an agreement was reached to return MCAS Futenma. This resulted in backlash amongst prefectural residents against the subsequent construction of a new "relocation" base at Henoko in Nago City.
Okinawa rape incident by three U.S. servicemen
85,000 people gather at Okinawa Prefectural Citizens' Rally demanding a revision of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and denouncing the rape incident by the U.S. servicemen.
Japan and the United States sign a bilateral agreement to return MCAS Futenma to Okinawa.
Govenor Inamine of Okinawa announces the coast of Henoko, Nago city as the relocation site of MCAS Futenma.
Mayor Kishimoto of Nago city announces the conditional approval of the proposal
An Air Force sergeant of Kadena airbase assaults an Okinawan woman
U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld addresses the dangers of MCAS Futenma during his visit
Naha Regional Defense Facilities Administration Bureau starts sea bed boring investigations in Henoko. Local residents in opposition begin sit-in protests.
Live-fire training being in "Range 4" urban combat training facility within Camp Hansen located in Kin City.
10,000 people gather at Okinawa Prefectural Citizens' Rally against live-fire training in the urban combat training facility
A US Marine CH35 helicopter drops a discarded vehicle into seas belonging to Yomitan village
Construction of a helipad in Takae of Higashi Village begin. Residents in opposition sit-in in protest.
Two US Marines rob and injure a taxi driver in Okinawa City.
6000 people gather at Okinawa Prefectural Citizens' Rally Rally against various crimes and accidents caused by US military men. 600 in total gather in Miyako and Ishigaki islands.
A US army military man commits a hit-and-run in Yomitan village, killing the victim.
21,000 people gather at Okinawa Prefectural Citizens' Rally Rally against the construction of a new US marine facility in Henoko and the relocation of U.S. military facilities within the prefecture.
Prime Minister Hatoyama announces he will give serious consideration to the relocation of Futenma to sites other than Henoko
1. January 24th
Inamine Susumu, an opponent to the Henoko base construction, is elected mayor Nago city, his hometown, for the first time.
90,000 people gather at Okinawa Prefectural Citizens' Rally Rally demanding the relocation of MCAS Futenma to somewhere outside of the prefecture and/or country
Prime Minister Hatoyama visits Okinawa and announces plans for relocation within Okinawa
The U.S. and Japanese government release a joint statement declaring "waters adjacent to Camp Schwab located in Henokozaki distric of Nago city" as the relocation site for MCAS Futenma.
101,000 people gather at the Okinawa Prefectural Citizens' Rally against the deployment of Osprey's at MCAS Futenma.
Ospreys deployed at MCAS Futenma
An Okinawan woman is assaulted by three US military men.
A petition signed by 41 municipal governments demanding the central government to abandon relocation plans within Okinawa is submitted to Prime Minister Abe
The central government holds a "restoration of sovereignty" ceremony. In Okinawa, 10,000 people gather at "4/28 'Day of Humiliation' Okinawa Rally" to remember the day Okinawa was cut off from Japanese administrative rights.
Steel barrels are dug up from a soccer pitch in Okinawa city near Kadena airbase. Dioxin, a constituent of Agent Orange, is detected from the barrels.
Us Airforce HH60 rescue helicopter crashes and burns in Camp Hansen. Water intake from Ookawa Dam is paused.
Deployment of 12 additional Ospreys at MCAS Futenma is complete, adding up to a total of 24 Ospreys on stand by.
Governor Nakaima approves permits to conduct landfill operations in Henoko
Inamine Susumu, an opponent to the henoko base construction, is reelected as the mayor of Nago City.
Bureau of Defence Policy begin boring investigations. Local residents resume protests.
Takeshi Onaga, a political candidate promising to stop construction of a new base defeats pro-construction forerunner Nakaima to become the new governor of Okinawa.
1. December 14th
2. Anti-base construction candidates defeat pro-base candidates from the Liberal Democratic Party in all 4 discricts of Okinawa during the House of Representatives General Election.
A large scale rally by the title of "70 years after WWII – Stop the Construction of a New Base in Henoko" to be held.
[Okinawa Crying Out]
Plans for Construction of Massive New Base at Henoko
The new base, which the Okinawa Defense Bureau is proceeding to build at Henoko in Nago City to serve as a replacement for MCAS Futenma, is to be an enormous base with two 1800m V-shaped runways on a total area of 205 hectares. Of this total area, 160 hectares is to be land which is reclaimed from the sea. Boring surveys were begun in July 2014 to study geology of the sea floor.
The new base is to be equipped with an ammunition loading area, seawalls with moorings allowing large tankers to dock, helipads and other facilities.
The work at sea, which was temporarily suspended during the Okinawa prefecture gubernatorial and Lower House elections at the end of 2014, was restarted in January 2015. The boring surveys are moving ahead at sea while citizens opposed to the construction continue to protest.
Defense Minister Gen Nakatani declared in the Diet that work on main reclamation work would begin this summer, and has indicated a policy of pushing forward with the work.
Citizen Protests Continue Since Work Started in July 2014
As work started in July 2014, citizens opposed to construction of a new base at Henoko began to monitor and protest in front of the Camp Schwab Gate. They have continued to voice their disapproval at sea and on land day after day.
Offshore operations, temporarily suspended by the Okinawa Defense Bureau, were restarted in January 2015. With the aim of preventing delivery of equipment and materials to be used for base construction, citizens also started monitoring the site at night, since the summer of last year. Guards clashed with citizens demonstrating in front of the gate where they were seeking to prevent equipment and material deliveries, eventually resulting in the first person detained.
In February and March, while protesting in front of the gate, citizens scuffled with riot squads and were injured. The Japan Coast Guard has displayed an uncompromising stance, and has even detained citizens protesting in canoes at sea. There is a backlash growing among citizen against the excessive security which still endures today.
As of May, these protests in front of the gate have gone on for more than 300 days. Many people from both inside and outside Okinawa as well as other countries have visited Henoko. The struggle for Henoko continues to this day to stop construction of the new base.
74% of US military facilities concentrate in Okinawa
Even it has been 70 years since the World War 2 ended, 74% of US Military facilities in Japan still concentrate in Okinawa, which is just 0.6% area of Japan. In fact, US bases occupy 18% of the main island of Okinawa.
Although US bases return in mainland of Japan has advanced after the war, the large-scale return has not realized in Okinawa.