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Japan Court Rules Against Okinawa Governor Attempt to Bloc Relocation of US Base

© AP Photo / Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool PhotoOkinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga, center, speaks to the media after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's office in Tokyo Friday, Aug. 7, 2015
Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga, center, speaks to the media after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's office in Tokyo Friday, Aug. 7, 2015 - Sputnik International
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A Japanese court of Friday ruled against Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, who had canceled his predecessor's decision to enable relocation of a US air base within the prefecture, local media reported.

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TOKYO (Sputnik) — According to the Kyodo news agency, the Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court made a ruling that Okinawa's former government had legally provided the land for relocation of the US air base from Okinawa's highly-populated district in the city of Ginowan to the Henoko coastal area of Nago city.

The relocation decision has met resistance from Okinawa's local authorities, with many Okinawa residents wishing to see the base gone rather than relocated. Okinawa Prefecture Governor Takeshi Onaga convinced the central government to temporarily halt construction in August 2015. In late October 2015, the Japanese government resumed construction of a US military base in Okinawa, having negated a regional government veto on it.

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In November 2015, Japanese Minister of Land Keiichi Ishii filed a lawsuit against Takeshi Onaga after the latter refused to fulfill Tokyo's recommendations to accept the relocation of a US base. Okinawa announced it would launch a retaliatory lawsuit against the Tokyo administration in December.

According to the media outlet, if the opposing sides do not reach a compromise, the Supreme Court of Japan will consider the issue and make the final ruling on this case by the end of March 2017.

Okinawa occupies less than 1 percent of Japanese territory but hosts some 74 percent of the country's total US military presence.

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