Japan court rejects Okinawa move to block US base relocation

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Tokyo—A Japanese court ruled Friday that Okinawa’s governor exceeded his legal authority by revoking a permit to reclaim land for the relocation of a U.S. military base, allowing the central government to proceed with the plan despite protests by local residents.
The decision is part of an ongoing legal battle between the southern island of Okinawa and Japan’s government over plans to move the base to a less-populated part of the island, which have stalled for 20 years.
Okinawa said it will appeal the ruling by the Fukuoka High Court to the Supreme Court.
Gov. Takeshi Onaga, who wants the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma moved off the island, revoked the reclamation permit last October. Onaga said he was “dumbfounded” by the ruling.
“I was expecting the court to be a guardian of the law, but it turned out to be just a rubber-stamp arm of the government,” Onaga told reporters. “The judgment took local governance so lightly and trampled on the feelings of the Okinawan people.”—AP