INTERVIEW: New Okinawa Gov. Eyes Referendum on U.S. Base Next Spring

Politics

Naha, Okinawa Pref., Oct. 1 (Jiji Press)--Okinawa Prefecture could hold a referendum as early as next spring on a planned U.S. base relocation within the southern Japan prefecture, Governor-elect Denny Tamaki said Monday.

"We may be busy with clerical work until the year-end, and this could continue until around March," Tamaki said in an interview following his victory in Sunday's gubernatorial poll.

In early September, a group of citizens submitted a petition for a referendum on the planned construction of a replacement facility in the Henoko coastal district of Nago for the Marine Corps' Futenma air base in Ginowan.

Following the petition, with a list of 92,848 signatures, equal to about 8 pct of the prefecture's voters, the Okinawa government submitted a bill for the referendum to the prefectural assembly.

In the interview, Tamaki said the proposed referendum would be a "very effective way" to gauge the will of people in Okinawa.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press