Soil Placement Starts for U.S. Base Relocation in Okinawa

Politics

Naha, Okinawa Pref., Dec. 14 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government started the placement of soil in landfill work off the Henoko coastal district in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, on Friday morning in a controversial U.S. military base relocation project.

It would be difficult to restore the original state of the site once the soil placement work gets into full swing as the central government presses ahead with the plan to move the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air base, currently in a densely populated district in Ginowan, Okinawa, to a replacement facility to be built off Henoko.

With Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki having made clear the prefecture's opposition to the project, the placement of soil is widely expected to escalate the Tokyo-Okinawa conflict over the base relocation plan, 22 years after the Japanese and U.S. governments agreed on the return of the Futenma base site to Japan.

"I can't help but feel strong resentment as the central government started the work while ignoring the will of people in Okinawa," Tamaki told reporters at the Okinawa government's office in Naha, the prefecture's capital.

The Okinawa government is demanding that the base be moved out of the southernmost Japan prefecture.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press