The plans to relocate the Futenma Airbase were first formulated in the 1960s, but ever since the process has been put on halt several times. The current plans see the base relocated to the Henoko district of the city of Nago in the northern part of Okinawa. The construction works at the site have already started.
According to the Mainichi newspaper, citing sources close to the prefectural government, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga hopes to present their case to the local assembly during its June session. In the event the proposal is approved, the lawsuit could be filed as early as July, the newspaper continued. The local government will most likely approve the proposal, as the governor’s bloc has majority in the prefectural assembly, the media added.
According to the media, on May 29, local authorities issued an administrative guidance to the Defense Ministry's Okinawa Defense Bureau, calling on the department to either gain new permission or halt the project. If no response is given by June 1, the prefectural government plans to start preparations for the lawsuit, the newspaper said.
The Futenma Airbase was constructed after the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. It is one of 16 US military bases and camps in Okinawa and is home for some 3,000 US Marines.