Okinawa governor OKs relocation of US airbase

Updated: 2013-12-27 10:19


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TOKYO, December 27 - Japan's Okinawa governor on Friday approved the landfill work to relocate the US Futenma airbase within the Japanese southernmost prefecture, reported local media.

Governor Hirokazu Nakaima changed his previous policy of relocating the controversial airbase out of the prefecture, Japan's Kyodo News cited a senior prefectural official as saying.

The Japanese central government called for long on Okinawa to accept the construction of a replacement facility in an offshore area in Nago to move the air station from a densely populated area in Ginowan.

In a meeting with Nakaima Wednesday in Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled a set of measures to reduce Okinawa's cost on hosting US bases and provide financial support to stimulate its economy, said Kyodo.

The airbase relocation issue has been in center of conflict in the prefecture as local residents strongly oppose the plan to move the base within the prefecture due to safety concerns about US military operations.