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Okinawa receives land-reclamation application for Nago base site

Kyodo

The Okinawa Prefectural Government formally received on Friday the central government’s application to reclaim land in preparation for replacing the U.S. Futenma military base in Ginowan with a new facility in Nago.

Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima, who has the authority to approve or reject the application, will have the final say after studying the documents for eight to 10 months.

To try to build some local support and ease tensions over the relocation plan, which is highly unpopular in Okinawa, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga plans to visit the prefecture next Wednesday and hold talks with Nakaima, a government source said.

The local community has been calling for the Futenma base to be moved outside Okinawa.

The prefectural government intends to ask the Defense Ministry’s Okinawa Defense Bureau, which submitted the application to the local government office on March 22, to revise some details in the application that are unclear.

The bureau’s filing of the application marked a milestone in the central government’s effort to push forward its accord with the United States to build the base.

The prefecture will probably start the long process of assessing the documents next month. The process includes allowing concerned parties to give their opinions over a three-week period, Okinawa officials said.