Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said Sunday the relocation of the US’ Futenma Airbase to Henoko would continue despite a referendum vote opposing the move.
The Okinawa prefecture held a referendum vote on whether the US military base should relocate to from Ginowan to Henoko. After the final count on Sunday, approximately 70 percent of voters opposed the move. The relocation has been 20 years in the making and has continued to face opposition after claims of noise from military activity, harm to the surrounding coral reefs, and after a 1995 incident of rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl by US servicemen.
The referendum result is non-binding, but does show the Japanese government the Okinawa citizen’s sentiment surrounding the US-Japan alliance. Despite the Prime Minister’s insistence on the relocation to move forward, Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki plans to make a visit to Tokyo later this week to reaffirm the island’s position.