Susumu Inamine, the mayor of Nago on Okinawa island, acknowledges he’s failed so far to persuade the Japanese and U.S. governments to drop plans to move an American military base to ecologically sensitive land in his city.
But he’s not giving up.
Inamine yesterday questioned the effectiveness of the U.S. military force on Okinawa and vowed to use his mayoral authority to block permits for the new base. He also promised to press his case with the global community and environmentalists about the threat the facility would pose to the biodiversity of Nago’s Henoko area, including to endangered sea cows also known as manatees.
“Why should only Okinawa hold the burden for security of all of Japan, when the presence of U.S. Marines doesn’t play a big role in deterring China?” Inamine, 68, said in an interview in Washington. “I, as mayor, have operational control over two ports that are needed for use as construction landfill and I will exercise all powers in the municipality to block access.”