Abe Pledges Efforts to Reduce Okinawa Base Burden; Henoko Landfill to Continue


Tokyo, Feb. 25 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday renewed his pledge to work on reducing Okinawa's burden of hosting U.S. military bases, after voters in the southern Japan prefecture rejected a controversial base relocation plan in Sunday's referendum.

"I sincerely accept the outcome (of the referendum) and will make utmost efforts toward reducing the base-hosting burden" on Okinawa, Abe told reporters.

More than 70 pct of voters who cast ballots in the referendum opposed the central government's plan to move the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air base, now located in a congested area in Ginowan, Okinawa, to a replacement facility to be built in the Henoko coastal area in Nago in the same prefecture.

Also speaking to reporters on Monday, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said the central government will continue the landfill work needed for the relocation.

Okinawa Prefecture has been demanding that the Futenma base be moved out of the prefecture.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press