More than 70 percent of voters in Okinawa on Sunday voted against a plan to relocate U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Ginowan to Henoko — a coastal area in the northeastern part of the main island — in a closely watched prefecture-wide referendum that was the first of its kind on the issue.

According to the Okinawa Prefectural Government, turnout hit 52.48 percent, topping the 50 percent threshold — a line seen by observers as lending legitimacy to the referendum.

The prefectural government said the number of "no" votes stood at 434,273 or 72.2 percent of the total voters, and surpassed 396,632, the figure Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki garnered in last September's gubernatorial election when he campaigned on a platform of blocking the relocation plan.