Okinawa Prefecture has decided not to file a fresh lawsuit against the central government over the planned relocation of a U.S. military base within the southernmost island prefecture, Vice Gov. Mitsuo Ageta said Thursday.
The decision, conveyed by Ageta to the central government during a meeting, came after a third-party panel last month refrained from siding with Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga in his attempt to block the transfer of the Air Station Futenma to the Henoko coastal area of Nago.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government, however, will consider whether to take new legal action over the prefecture’s refusal to obey a state order, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita said.
A settlement accepted by the two sides in March has halted landfill work at Henoko, where Japan and the United States have agreed to move the base from its current location in a densely populated area in Ginowan.
Based on that settlement, the state ordered Onaga to retract his withdrawal in October last year of permission for construction work. Onaga filed a complaint with the Central and Local Government Dispute Management Council in response, but the panel refrained from judging whether it was legal for the state to issue the order.
Okinawa Prefecture is now seeking a solution through discussions with the central government, arguing when the two sides accepted court-mediated settlement they did not expect that the dispute resolution panel would refrain from making a judgment on the matter.
Okinawa would have needed to sue the central government by next Thursday, according to the Local Autonomy Law.
The base relocation plan has faced strong local opposition.
After the March settlement, the prefectural and central governments set up a panel that first met in April. Thursday’s meeting in the Okinawa capital Naha was the second round of discussions.