Relocation of US military base on Okinawa triggers protest

Eurasia News

TOKOY: A large number of people from the Japanese island of Okinawa held demonstration on Friday to protest an agreement which allows relocating a controversial US military base to a less populous location on the island, Dispatch News Desk reported.

Earlier in the day, the Okinawa governor Hirokazu Nakaima approved the long-anticipated relocation of the US Marines Corps’ Futenma air station, a move that settled decades of often heated negotiations between the US and Japan.

The governor was originally against a deal to keep the controversial base in the jurisdiction of Okinawa. However, he agreed to the plan after he met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday who had reportedly pledged a healthy annual sum of cash into Okinawa’s economy until 2021.

After the deal, a new US military base will be constructed on a coastal landfill within Okinawa Prefecture.

According to reports, about 2,000 people gathered on Friday in front of the Okinawa government building to protest against the decision, with a few hundred staging a sit-in in the lobby of the office building.

The protesters want the base to be completely moved off Okinawa.

In a statement, the head of the assembly in Nago City, where the new base is to be constructed, Yuichi Higa said that what the governor has done is unforgivable. He said that residents who are opposed will surely resort to the use of force, such as blocking roads to stop this from happening.