18:00 GMT06 March 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The governor of Japan's Okinawa Prefecture, Denny Tamaki, has called for the immediate suspension of Tokyo-managed land reclamation that is needed to relocate a US military airbase, the NHK broadcaster reported.

    According to the NHK broadcaster, Okinawa's governor told reporters that Japan's central authorities should immediately halt the land reclamation in the area and consult with the prefecture on the matter.

    Changes to the project's original plan are needed to properly carry out work on soil solidification, and these changes must be approved by local authorities, Denny Tamaki said.

    The plans to relocate the US air base sparked protests among tens of thousands of local residents demanding that the facility is removed from Okinawa completely, and not just moved to another location.

    Okinawa, which accounts for a small fraction of Japan's territory, hosts 74 percent of US military facilities and more than half of all US forces deployed in Japan.

    READ MORE: New US Base in Okinawa Will Ruin Trump's China, N Korea Diplomacy — Activist

    The relocation of the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which is currently situated in Okinawa's densely populated city of Ginowan, to the Henoko district was launched in 2017. In August 2018, the prefecture's authorities revoked the land reclamation permit for the new site, citing concerns over a soft ground in the area.

    In early November, however, the relocation process resumed as Tokyo reversed the local authorities' ban. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicated the need to solidify ground in a section where reclamation had not yet begun.


    New US Base in Okinawa Will Ruin Trump's China, N Korea Diplomacy – Activist
    Japanese Gov't Starts Reclamation Work for US Base Sparking Protests in Okinawa
    Relocation of US Okinawa Base Suspended at Local Authorities' Request - Reports
    land reclamation, military base, Japan, US, Okinawa
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