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Okinawa Gov. Onaga announces suit vs. Japan gov't to halt Henoko base

Land reclamation work proceeds for a new U.S. Marine Corps facility off the Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, in this May 15, 2017 file photo. (Mainichi)

NAHA -- Okinawa Prefecture will file suit against the Japanese government as early as July to stop construction of a U.S. Marine facility in the Henoko district of the prefectural city of Nago, Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga announced at a June 7 news conference here.

The move is the latest step in the battle over the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within the prefecture, which Onaga is dead-set against.

The necessary resolution will be presented to the prefectural assembly after the next session begins on June 20, and the suit will be filed soon after the resolution is approved on the last scheduled day of the session on July 14. The prefecture is also filing an application for a provisional injunction to suspend construction at the Henoko site until a judgment on the suit is rendered.

Okinawa Prefecture has argued that for construction to continue, the central government must reapply for permission to break up the reef off the Henoko coast to make way for the Marine facility, as the previous prefectural OK for the operation expired at the end of March. The Japanese government has countered that the local fishing cooperative has given up its fishing rights to the area, and that therefore no reapplication is required.

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