Japan will go ahead with the proposal to relocate the U.S. Futenma Air Station in another site in the Okinawa prefecture itself despite local protests including that of Governor Hirokazu Nakaima.
The government's intention to shift the Marine base from Ginowan city in Okinawa to the coastal area of Henoko in Nago city of the same prefecture was made clear by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga in Tokyo on Saturday.
The government on Friday submitted a request to Okinawa prefectural authorities seeking permission to reclaim a coastal area in Nago. The prefecture's consent is needed for reclamation of the coastal strip to build facilities to shift the Air Station to the area in line with a Japan-U.S. agreement.
Governor Nakaima will decide within the next eight months whether to approve the landfill proposal after inspections and hearings are held. The government hopes to gain the Governor's approval by the end of the year, Japan's NHK broadcaster reported.
However, Nakaima wanted to relocate the Futenma base outside the prefecture as it is physically impossible to shift it to the coastal area of Henoko in Nago city. All the mayors in Okinawa prefecture, including Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine, are opposed to the relocation plan.
Futenma Air Station of the U.S. Marine Corps is one of the several American bases Japan is hosing on its soil together having more than 50,000 soldiers.
by RTT Staff Writer
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