Protesters clash with police over planned US airbase in Japan

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By Euronews  with REUTERS
Protesters clash with police over planned US airbase in Japan

Police have dragged away protesters trying to block work on a contentious US airbase in Japan.

Dozens of protesters, many of them elderly, gathered at the site in the Henoko area of Okinawa province.

They want to block access for trucks and bulldozers to the planned Futenma air base.

Work has begun at the site,19 years after it was first planned.

Why has the row intensified?

The row has intensified after local governor Takeshi Onaga revoked permission for work at the site two weeks ago.

But the government in Tokyo decided on Tuesday his decision was not legitimate and has overridden it.

Work resumed on Thursday morning, prompting the protests

What is the dispute about?

The US and Japan agreed to close the US air base at Futenma in 1996.

Residents of Okinawa resent hosting any military base at all.

But they additionally oppose the government’s plan to move the US base to a nearby island.

Plans to move it stalled due to opposition from Okinawa residents worried about noise, pollution and crime levels.

The government in Toyko says it plans to stick to the agreement.

Tens of thousands of people are supporting the campaign.