GET Stock QuotesNews18 APP
News18 English
»
1-min read

Japan's Okinawa to Hold Referendum on US Base Relocation Issue

The decision, by local politicians, comes a month after residents elected a new governor who opposes plans to move the US Marines' Futenma Air Station from an urban area to a sparsely populated part of the island.

AFP

Updated:October 26, 2018, 9:33 AM IST
facebookTwittergoogleskypewhatsapp
Japan's Okinawa to Hold Referendum on US Base Relocation Issue
An MV-22 Osprey aircraft of the U.S. Marine Corps flies to land at the Marines' Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, Okinawa. (Image: Reuters)
Loading...
Tokyo: Japan's Okinawa region voted on Friday to hold a non-binding referendum on a deeply unpopular plan to relocate a US military base, in the latest twist to a long-running saga.

The decision, by local politicians, comes a month after residents elected a new governor who opposes plans to move the US Marines' Futenma Air Station from an urban area to a sparsely populated part of the island.

While the referendum has no legal standing, a vote against the move is likely to pile fresh pressure on the central government, which backs the move as the best way to deal with anger in Okinawa about the base.

Okinawa accounts for less than one percent of Japan's total land area but hosts more than half of the approximately 47,000 American military personnel stationed in Japan.

Noise, accidents and crimes committed by military personnel and civilian base employees have long irritated local residents, as has the perceived refusal of other parts of the country to share Okinawa's burden.

The plan backed by the government would move the base from its current densely populated location to a remote area, partly created by land reclamation.

Opponents do not want the base to remain where it is but have nevertheless campaigned against the move because they believe it would entrench the US presence on the islands.

They say it should be put elsewhere in Japan, or even shuttered completely.

The construction of the new base "means pursuing national security at the expense of residents' rights to regional autonomy," assembly member Ichiro Miyagi said Friday.

Construction work at the new site has been suspended since August, after the Okinawa government retracted its approval for land reclamation.

New governor Denny Tamaki, who has vowed to continue fighting the new airbase, will set a date for the referendum, with local media saying it would likely be held before next spring.

Okinawa was the site of a major World War II battle that was followed by a 27-year US occupation of the island.

The archipelago's location means it is of huge strategic importance for US forward positioning in Asia.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
Read full article
Loading...
Next Story
Next Story

Also Watch

facebookTwittergoogleskypewhatsapp

Live TV

Loading...
Loading...