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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Japanese Prime Minister Calls for Early Transfer of US Base in Okinawa

Sputnik News

13:43 GMT 12.06.2020(updated 13:44 GMT 12.06.2020)

TOKYO (Sputnik) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday stressed the need to relocate the US Futenma Air Base in the Okinawa prefecture as soon as possible and pledged to make every effort for that.

"You cannot let the transfer process to stop. It must be implemented as soon as possible," Abe said, as quoted by the Kyodo news agency.

The prime minister added that he intended to make every effort to implement the plan to relocate the base.

Earlier in the day, media reported that the Japanese authorities resumed construction in the Henoko coastal area of Okinawa where the Futenma Air Base would be moved, after the nearly two-month suspension due to a COVID-19 case among workers on the site.

In 2006, Japan and the United States agreed to relocate the Futenma base from the densely populated residential area in Okinawa's Ginowan city to Henoko due to safety concerns. However, to implement the relocation plan, Japan plans to fill in some 157 hectares (388 acres) off Henoko and build an offshore runway there that, according to the local authorities and population, could damage coral reefs at the site.

The government and the prefecture's authorities have been fighting for several years over the relocation of the base. Mutual lawsuits and cancellations of decisions lead to the periodic renewals and suspensions of works on filling Henoko's coastal area.

© Sputnik

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