The legal battle over the Futenma base relocation project in Okinawa escalated Friday as the Okinawa Prefectural Government sued the central government over its attempt to bulldoze the plan and override the governor.

"This couldn't be helped to protect the pride and dignity of the people in the prefecture," Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga said at a news conference a day after a third-party panel in Tokyo refused to review Okinawa's complaint.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga acknowledged that the rare dispute would be settled in court.