Okinawa Prefecture's campaign for the Feb. 24 referendum on the central government's relocation plan for a U.S. air base kicked off Thursday, with the results and voter turnout rate likely to be key in indicating how Tokyo will deal with the outcome of the vote from a political standpoint.

The referendum offers three choices, asking voters if they support, oppose, or neither support nor oppose moving U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from a densely populated area of Ginowan to a new facility under construction in the Henoko coastal district of Nago.

But with the central government under no legal obligation to follow the results of the referendum and questions about whether the three choices might produce a muddled result, it's unclear what impact the referendum will have on the long-delayed Henoko plan.