Okinawa leader threatens to revoke approval to move US base

(From AP)

By Mari Yamaguchi

Okinawa’s governor said Monday that he was preparing to revoke approval for work needed to relocate a U.S. military air base from one area of the southern Japanese island to another, just days after the work was restarted.

US Marine Corps air station at Futenma, Okinawa

US Marine Corps air station at Futenma, Okinawa

Local residents are upset at having to live alongside U.S. Marine Air Station Futenma, and there are plans to move it to a less-developed area on Okinawa called Henoko. But the locals say the relocation only moves the burden elsewhere, and they want the base moved off the island entirely.

Gov. Takeshi Onaga, elected last year on promises to fight the move, said that approval given in 2013 by his predecessor for landfill work has “legal defects” and that he has begun the process to cancel it.

“We will take all possible measures to block base construction in Henoko, and this is the first step,” Onaga said at a news conference at his office in the prefectural capital of Naha, indicating that he is set for a legal battle with Japan’s central government.

Anti-military sentiment is high on Okinawa, which houses more than half of the 50,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan. In terms of space, 74 percent of U.S. bases are on the island, which has only 0.6 percent of Japan’s land. Read more



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