NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – The central government on Thursday resumed works to rebuild U.S. military barracks in Okinawa, roughly nine months after the project was halted amid protests over the relocation of a nearby U.S. military base.
The two barracks are located within the U.S. Marines’ Camp Schwab in Nago, near the site where the Futenma air base is slated for relocation in the face of opposition from the local government and residents.
While the Okinawa government has given the green light to the project, deeming the facilities are not part of the base, others have opposed the move, saying it could facilitate the base relocation from a crowded residential area in Ginowan.
The rebuilding of the corroding barracks was halted in March when the state and Okinawa government reached a court-mediated settlement that included suspending the state’s landfill work required for the base relocation plan.
Following the settlement, the local government approved the rebuild during working-level consultations between the two governments last month.
After several months of stalemate, in which both sides stuck to their positions, the state filed a fresh lawsuit in July against Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga, seeking to have him follow a government order and stop blocking the relocation.
The Supreme Court decided Monday not to hold proceedings over the case, setting the governor on track to lose the suit.
Once Onaga repeals the cancellation of his predecessor’s approval on the landfill work in accordance with the expected ruling, the state plans to resume the work at Henoko in Nago.
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