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Construction resumes at Okinawa U.S. Marine base

NAGO, Okinawa -- Construction work at the U.S. Marine Corps' Camp Schwab in the Henoko district of this city, where a new U.S. military facility is set to be built, commenced on the afternoon of Dec. 15 after a nine-month hiatus, the Defense Ministry has announced.

Trucks carrying construction materials were seen entering the base, where a replacement facility for the Marines' Air Station Futenma is planned, at about 2:20 p.m. However, the Okinawa Prefectural Government has stated that the work is unrelated to land reclamation work for the replacement facility, and is apparently for the renovation of existing buildings.

Gov. Takeshi Onaga revoked approval of land reclamation work for the new facility, resulting in a fierce legal battle with the central government that has gone all the way to the Supreme Court. The court is seen as likely to rule in favor of the state, after announcing it would hold no further hearings on the case before it hands down its ruling on Dec. 20.

Local residents are expected to protest the resumption of construction, particularly in light of the Dec. 13 crash-landing of a U.S. Marine Corps Osprey aircraft off the coast of Nago.

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