Tokyo sues Okinawa in US base relocation dispute

FILE - In this May 24, 2015 file photo, protesters against the construction of the new U.S. base in Okinawa, hold placards in front of the National Diet building during a rally in Tokyo, Sunday, May 24, 2015. The Japanese government is suing the local government in Okinawa over the planned relocation of a U.S. military air base on the southern island, launching a legal battle in their longstanding dispute. A lawsuit filed Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 seeks a court injunction to overturn the Okinawa governor's recent cancellation of approval for reclamation work needed to relocate U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to a less-populated part of the prefecture. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese government took the local government in Okinawa to court Tuesday, launching a legal battle in their longstanding dispute over the planned relocation of a U.S. military air base on the southern island.

A lawsuit filed in a regional high court in Okinawa seeks an injunction to overturn Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga’s recent decision to cancel a previously issued approval for land reclamation work for the base relocation.

The long-stalled plan would move the U.S. Marine Air Station Futenma to a less-populated part of Okinawa, but many residents want the base moved out of the prefecture entirely. They feel Okinawa bears an unfair burden of the U.S. military presence in Japan. The prefecture houses more than half of the 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan and U.S. bases occupy nearly a fifth of the land on its main island.

Onaga’s predecessor approved the land reclamation, but then lost to him in a re-election bid. The central government sued Okinawa after Onaga refused to follow an order from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to reinstate approval for the work.

Tokyo briefly suspended the reclamation work earlier this year while seeking a compromise but has since resumed it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s