The Japanese government this week started construction work essential to the relocation of the Futenma Marine base in Okinawa over the objections of the prefectural government and the wishes of many of its citizens.

The work and the move are long overdue.

We understand the concerns of the Okinawa people. They have borne a heavy, perhaps disproportionate, burden in the Japan-U.S. alliance. But the base must be moved. The failure to make progress is a threat to the citizens of Ginowan, where the base is currently located, and Japan, since Futenma is a core component of the U.S. deterrent posture in this region.