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Japanese row heightens over US military base move

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Japanese row heightens over US military base move


A clash has deepened between Japan’s central government and Okinawa island leaders over the building of a new US troop base.

Local and national authorities have been on a collision course since local elections in November brought in new faces.

Now Okinawa’s governor Takeshi Onaga wants the project halted.

Local authorities say the new site at Nago will harm coral reefs and cause widespread environmental damage.

Delays to the plan to move the Futenma base to a less populous area of northern Okinawa could be a headache for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ahead of his visit to the United States at the end of April.

Okinawa, which was not returned to Japan until 27 years after Tokyo’s defeat in World War Two, still hosts nearly 75 percent of the US military presence in Japan.

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