Referendum rejects relocation of US base in Japan

Baku, February 25, AZERTAC

The Japanese voters overwhelmingly rejected the plans to relocate the U.S. base in the country, media reports said on Monday, according to Anadolu Agency.

Work is already underway to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Ginowan to Henoko -- a coastal area in the northeastern part of the main island.

According to the daily Japan Times, more than 70 percent of the voters in Okinawa prefecture (municipalities) on Sunday voted against the plan to relocate U.S. base.

However, the Shinzo Abe government in Japan will proceed with the relocation of the base within Okinawa prefecture, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported.

Ginowan is considered a crowded residential area while Henoko district is a less densely populated coastal zone.

There has been a long-standing demand of natives of the municipality that the Futenma base be moved outside of Okinawa.

“We have been holding dialogue with people in Okinawa for a long time and intend to keep doing so to seek their understanding on the decades-old plan to move U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within Okinawa,” Abe told the reporters.

The U.S. base hosts bulk of American military facilities in Japan as a legacy of the U.S. military occupation of Okinawa prefecture from the end of World War II to 1972.

Abe said that the Futenma airfield poses a danger due to its location in a residential area and that its move to a new site, originally agreed upon by Japan and the U.S. more than 20 years ago “should not be put off”.

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