The outcome of a referendum in Okinawa showing that a vast majority of residents oppose the bilateral Futenma air base relocation plan may deal a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government at elections across the country this year.
More than 70 percent of voters in the prefecture voted no Sunday to the plan to proceed with landfill work to build the replacement facility for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma off the Henoko district in Nago. The move would shift all base-related military activities being undertaken in Ginowan, a crowded residential area, to Nago instead.
Naoto Nonaka, a professor of comparative politics at Gakushuin University in Tokyo, said the referendum comes at a time when Abe's administration is in "a serious situation." Nonaka believes Abe's government has reached a dead end because of unsuccessful internal and diplomatic policy ventures.