Henoko board retracts community's 1999 decision, accepts heliport
May 18, 2007
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The Henoko District Administrative Board unanimously agreed Tuesday to retract the community’s 1999 decision against a sea-based heliport off its shore.
Now the Henoko community will more openly and actively negotiate with the Tokyo government on receiving incentives and financial aid for accepting a new military facility, board member Futoshi Kohagura said.
The U.S. and Japan agreed in May 2006 to build a V-shaped runway on Camp Schwab to move operations off of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which sits in the middle of heavily populated Ginowan city.
The vote does not necessarily mean the community now supports the new runway, Kohagura said.
“Under the present circumstances, we have no choice but to take it,” he said. “If it comes at all to our neighborhood, we must ensure permanent compensation from the government.”
Kohagura said the administrative board set up a special committee May 1 to study what is needed to keep adverse impacts, such as aircraft noise, to a minimum and to make the most out of hosting an additional military facility.
“Without these benefits, there is no way for us to gain support from residents to our decision,” he said.
Kohagura said dialogue with the Tokyo government had already begun after Tuesday’s vote.
“This is the only way left for us to defend our community of 1,500 residents,” he said.