A prefecture-wide referendum in Okinawa on Sunday demonstrated overwhelming opposition, at least among those who voted, to relocating U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Ginowan to Henoko, in the northeastern part of the main island.

But with the central government vowing to continue the project, already under construction, Okinawans opposed to the move remain committed to fighting on, both within Japan and also through making their case to the U.S.

"Now that the clear opposition of the Okinawa people has been conveyed it's up to individuals in the rest of Japan to consider our wishes, and have a debate on national security and the relocation of Futenma outside of Okinawa Prefecture and Japan," Jinshiro Motoyama, who spearheaded the referendum, told reporters after the vote.