Okinawa Governor Says No to US Base Relocation*
Takeshi Onaga told reporters he is set to make a “critical decision” about the Futenma’s construction, according to the Nikkei daily.
The governor of the southernmost Japanese prefecture of Okinawa will revoke his predecessor’s approval to relocate a controversial US military base from the region, local media reported Monday.
Abe’s chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga announced last month that the relocation of the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma would be postponed to September.
The publication said Tokyo resumed relocation work at Futenma on Saturday.
Onaga’s announcement yields to a three-week procedure, including consultations with the Okinawa Defense Bureau. A formal announcement is expected in mid-October.
The Japanese daily stated Abe’s administration is expected to request an administrative review by the land ministry, raising the possibility of a court dispute.
Construction plans for the MCAS relocation from Okinawa’s highly-populated district in the city of Ginowan to Henoko, on the coastal city of Nago, triggered confrontations over environmental concerns and opposition to the US military presence in Japan.
In April, Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani and his US counterpart Ashton Carter reaffirmed the relocation plan, a part of a 2006 intergovernmental agreement on the original 2014 deadline for the US base relocation.
Over half of 47,000 g troops deployed in Japan are based in Okinawa. The prefecture was controlled by the U.S. authorities between 1945-1972. U.S. military bases deployed in Okinawa occupy about 10% of the prefecture’s territory and 18% of Okinawa Island.