Over 70 Pct of Okinawa Voters Reject U.S. Base Relocation


Naha, Okinawa Pref., Feb. 24 (Jiji Press)--More than 70 pct of voters in Okinawa Prefecture who cast ballots in a closely watched referendum on Sunday opposed the central government's plan to relocate a controversial U.S. military base within the southern prefecture.

Votes of opposition totaled 434,273, or 71.74 pct of all votes cast, far surpassing a quarter of all eligible voters in Okinawa and even exceeding the some 397,000 votes that Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki garnered in the gubernatorial election last September on a platform of blocking the relocation.

The referendum, the first to seek judgment on the base relocation alone, asked voters if they support or oppose the landfill work needed for building a replacement facility for the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air station, while giving them a third option of "neither."

Votes of support stood at 114,933, while 52,682 residents voted "neither."

Speaking to reporters past midnight Sunday, Tamaki said he will inform Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe soon of the clear message of local residents that they oppose the base relocation plan, which is based on a Japan-U.S. agreement.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press