11:13 GMT +321 August 2019
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    A file picture taken on April 24, 2010 shows planes and helicopters stationed at the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma base in Ginowan, Okinawa prefecture.

    Japan Decides to Stop Works on US Airbase Relocation in Okinawa

    © AFP 2019 / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA
    Asia & Pacific
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    Tokyo decided to accept a court-mediated settlement plan concerning the relocation of a US airbase.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to halt landfill work on the Henoko coastal area of Nago city in Okinawa for the relocation of a US airbase under a court-mediated settlement plan, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said Friday.

    "The government has decided to accept the court-mediated settlement plan," Nakatani said as quoted by Kyodo news agency.

    Litigation between the authorities of the Okinawa prefecture and the central Japanese government is due to be completed under the settlement plan. The parties are expected to hold consultations to work out an acceptable final solution.

    The relocation of the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma was agreed on in 2006. Current plans envision the base to be closed by February 2019 and relocated within the Okinawa prefecture.

    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.

    Elected in 2014, Onaga ran on promises to oppose the airbase's construction. In mid-November, the Okinawa government was sued by the central government over the dispute.

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    Tags:
    Futenma airbase, Gen Nakatani, Shinzo Abe, Japan, Okinawa
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