Defense Min. Files for Okinawa Base Relocation Plan Changes


Naha, Okinawa Pref., April 21 (Jiji Press)--A local bureau of Japan's Defense Ministry on Tuesday applied to the Okinawa prefectural government for ground reinforcement work-related design changes for the central government's plan to relocate a U.S. military base within the southernmost Japan prefecture.

The prefectural government, which wants to block the relocation, is expected to reject the application.

Okinawa and the central government are highly likely to enter a court battle over the relocation plan, which is based on a Japan-U.S. agreement.

The prefectural government is against the plan to move the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air base in the densely populated Okinawa city of Ginowan to a replacement facility to be built in the Henoko coastal district in Nago, another Okinawa city, as it demands the base be moved out of the prefecture.

The application, filed by the ministry's Okinawa Defense Bureau, for the prefecture's approval on the additional work to improve soft ground in the sea area off Henoko "will lead to the promotion of steady relocation work, the return of the Futenma air base at the earliest possible date and the removal of risks" currently posed by the base, Defense Minister Taro Kono told a news conference.

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