11:17 GMT +314 December 2017
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    (FILES) 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

    Okinawa Government Files New Lawsuit Over US Air Base Relocation

    © AFP 2017/ TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA
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    The government of Japan's southern Okinawa prefecture filed yet another lawsuit in the Naha Regional Court, protesting against the relocation of the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station from the city of Ginowan to Henoko district in the city of Nago, local media reported Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In December, the national government won a lawsuit against the prefectural government, forcing the latter to allow the move of the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station to the Henoko Bay in Nago. The construction works at the site resumed in April 2016, continuing to crush reefs despite the expiration of prefectural government’s permission in March.

    According to the Kyodo news agency, the local government stressed in its appeal that the central government's approval of the construction works, which poses a threat to the destruction of reefs in the area, and without the permission of the Prefectural governor Onaga Takeshi, is illegal. The prefectural government also demands temporary halting of the construction works until the trial.

    According to the media outlet, the central government, on the other hand, insists that the prefecture's filing of the lawsuit is inconsistent with precedents and that there was no need for the permission of the prefectural governor.

    The plans to relocate the Futenma Airbase were formulated in the 1960s, but ever since then, the process has been put on halt several times. 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 less populated Henoko district of Nago in the northern part of Okinawa, to spare Ginowan's residents from the dangers of US military helicopters and aircraft.

    However, the inhabitants of the prefecture demand the complete removal of the US army facility from the prefecture.

    Okinawa occupies less than 1 percent of Japanese territory but hosts some 74 percent of the country's total US military presence. The US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma houses 25,800 US members of the armed forces along with 19,000 family members and civilians, according to the prefecture’s figures.

    Related:

    N. Korea Says Recent Missile Drills Aimed at Striking US Military Base in Japan
    Moving About: Japan Starts Construction Works for US Base Relocation in Okinawa
    Japan Proceeds With Controversial New US Air Base on Okinawa
    Tags:
    lawsuit, relocation, base, Okinawa, Japan, United States
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