The decision Friday by Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima to allow the start of offshore fill work needed to build a replacement facility for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma ends a 17-year standoff that pitted entrenched base opponents against Tokyo and Washington.

But while the governor's decision is a major step toward realizing the building of the Futenma replacement base on the Henoko coast in the city of Nago, the date for completion depends on a variety of factors, ranging from continued political opposition in Okinawa to whether the U.S. Congress will ensure the necessary funds for Guam to take in Okinawa-based U.S. Marines, mainly from the Futenma contingent.

The prefectural assembly was discussing Friday whether to formally condemn Nakaima. However, a three-fourth's majority is needed to pass such a resolution. That could be difficult as many members, especially from the Liberal Democratic Party, previously opposed the Nago base less out of a conviction that it was a bad idea and more as a bargaining chip for squeezing money out of the central government for funding public works projects.