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Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga’s final decision to revoke his prefecture’s earlier permit for landfill work by the national government to build a new facility in the Henoko area of Nago to replace U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan has been quickly reciprocated by the government’s attempt to get the decision invalidated and annulled. The Abe administration says it will go ahead with the Henoko construction based on the permit granted by Onaga’s predecessor, meaning that the Futenma relocation dispute will now likely become a court battle between the government and the prefecture — an all-out confrontation that should have been averted.

Onaga had little choice but to resort to the much-anticipated action. After all, he was elected governor 11 months ago on a promise of halting the Henoko project amid strong local popular opposition that has also been reflected in other election results in the prefecture. And yet his prospects for winning the legal battle with the national government seem anything but certain.

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