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Japanese call on government to respect referendum against Okinawa US base

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Staff Writer | March 11, 2019
The majority of Japanese citizens asked the country's government to respect the results of the Okinawan prefecture's referendum rejecting the relocation of a U.S. military base within that territory, a survey said Sunday.
Okinawa US base
Asia   Okinawa is home to about 70 percent of U.S. military installations in Japan
According to the poll, published by the Kyodo agency, 68.7 percent of those interviewed said the prime minister's executive, Shinzo Abe, should listen to the voice of the country's southernmost prefecture.

While only 19.4 percent indicated that it is not necessary to do it.

In the February 24 plebiscite, which was not legally binding, the Okinawans opposed the transfer of the Futenma air station from a densely populated area to a less populated space in the vicinity of Henoko Bay, in the same locality.

That result reaffirmed the area's historic rejection of the U.S. Marines and gave the Okinawan government a stronger position in its campaign to block the controversial action.

However, Prime Minister Abe assured that his administration recognized the opposition of the citizenry, but insisted on maintaining negotiations to implement that plan.

Despite occupying only 0.6 percent of Japan's territory, Okinawa is home to about 70 percent of U.S. military installations in the Asian nation.

The inhabitants of that demarcation maintain a resounding rejection of the presence of Pentagon soldiers, because they are responsible for several incidents in the place with deadly balance.