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Court rejects Okinawa's demand that U.S. base relocation be halted

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Staff Writer |
Asia   U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma

A Japanese high court rejected the Okinawa prefectural government's demand that the transfer of a key U.S. base within the southern prefecture be halted.

The Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court upheld a lower court ruling, dismissing an appeal by the local government to suspend work for the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

The central government plans to start full-blown landfill work on Dec. 14 to build the replacement facility.

In a legal battle with the state initiated by the late Takeshi Onaga, the predecessor of the incumbent Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki and a fierce opponent of the relocation plan, no court has ruled in favor of the prefecture.

At issue is the controversial Japan-U.S. plan to move the Futenma facility from a crowded residential area of Ginowan to the less populated Henoko coastal district in Nago, both in Okinawa.

Many people in the prefecture, which hosts the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan, want the Futenma base to be moved out of Okinawa altogether. They are also concerned the landfill work will have a huge impact on the marine environment in the area, which has coral reefs and is a habitat of the endangered dugong.

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