Photo/IllutrationTrucks, cranes and other heavy machinery are mobilized in an area where land is being reclaimed for a new U.S. military base in the Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, on May 13. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

  • Photo/Illustraion

NAHA--Okinawa's governor fired off a protest to defense officials on June 11 after the central government unloaded earth and sand for a new U.S. military base using an unauthorized pier.

Governor Denny Tamaki submitted a written instruction to the Defense Ministry’s Okinawa Defense Bureau to stop the work in the Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, saying it amounts to an unforgivable and reckless act.

Prefectural authorities called for the work to cease because the government has no local authorization to use the K8 embankment as a pier.

From about 1 p.m., the Okinawa Defense Bureau began unloading earth and sand brought in by vessels using the embankment.

The bureau intends to accelerate the land reclamation work before June 14. The date will mark six months since earth and sand began being dumped off the coast of Henoko as part of the government's plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, also in the prefecture.

“I can’t accept it at all,” Tamaki told reporters at Okinawa's prefectural government office building.

Tamaki said he notified defense officials that using the K8 embankment as a pier is a violation of its intended use. The governor said the central government did not state it planned to use embankments as piers for unloading when it applied to do the relocation work.

But Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya vowed to forge ahead with the project.

It was envisaged that the embankment would be 515 meters long. Because protected coral reefs are located nearby, the central government built it up to 250 meters so as to avoid having to transplant the coral.

By using the K8 embankment right next to the reclamation site as a pier, and the K9 embankment northeast of the site for the same purpose, earth and sand are being unloaded over an area of 39.3 hectares.