Armed Forces News

A consortium of U.S.- and Japan-based environmental activist organizations is appealing a court decision in favor of the Navy, in hopes of stopping plans to relocate Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in Okinawa. Kyodo, the Japanese news service, reported Sept. 25 that the environmentalists say the construction will destroy the habitat of dugongs — manatee-like mammals that are endangered. The suit is pending before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The environmentalists also contend that the new air station would call for paving 125 acres of wetlands and coral that the dugongs depend upon for survival. Construction on the new base temporarily stopped in August when the Japanese government revoked an earlier land-reclamation permit. Okinawan officials want the existing Futenma base to be relocated somewhere other than on their island prefecture.