13:18 GMT17 February 2020
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    The Japanese government has launched large-scale construction projects for the relocation of the US Futenma military base to an off-shore facility in Okinawa.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) — Work to build seawalls started off the coast of Henoko Bay near the city of Nago, allowing later for the laying of foundation made of concrete and soil, the NHK broadcaster reported.

    Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga repeatedly attempted to halt the construction works. On March 28, he ordered a halt of the Defense Ministry's land reclamation works, since the submerging of concrete blocks had destroyed rock reefs.

    Talks over Futenma's relocation have been the subject of protest for decades. The base is currently located in a densely populated area in Okinawa's city of Ginowan. The government's plans to relocate the base to the Henoko coast have been met with protests as the prefecture wants the US facility gone altogether.

    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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    Nago, Japan, United States, Okinawa
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