Photo/IllutrationThe construction of a bank in the background at right (N5 spot; see map) begins in the Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, on Nov. 6. Protest boats and Japan Coast Guard vessels square off in the foreground. (Go Katono)

  • Photo/Illustraion

NAGO, Okinawa Prefecture--The central government began building banks at two new spots off the Henoko coast here on Nov. 6 to reclaim land for the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga slammed the move, saying, “(Tokyo) is trying to pull off a fait accompli without hesitation.”

The government is plowing ahead with the plan to dump earth and sand into the sea area before the Okinawa gubernatorial election scheduled for autumn 2018.

The two new banks are expected to stretch 210 meters and 270 meters when completed.

In the sea area between the two spots, named K1 and N5, rare coral was found in July. Because of that, the central government’s Okinawa Defense Bureau applied to the Okinawa prefectural government to move the coral.

The prefectural government is currently examining the application. However, the central government decided to start the work in the two spots on the basis that even if the work begins, it will not affect the coral.

“While paying sufficient consideration to the natural environment and living environment for residents, we will realize the return of the Futenma air station (to Japan) as early as possible,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a news conference on Nov. 6.

The U.S. air station is currently located in Ginowan, also in Okinawa Prefecture.