Work resumes on new US base in Okinawa

TOKYO • Tokyo has resumed work on a controversial new United States military base in Okinawa following a month-long suspension, officials said, even as talks with local officials opposed to the project remained deadlocked.

The Japanese government announced the temporary halt last month for "concentrated discussions" with Mr Takeshi Onaga, the outspoken governor of Okinawa, and other officials.

But negotiators failed to reach a compromise and work resumed yesterday .

The plan to relocate Futenma airbase, first mooted in 1996, has angered locals, who insist that it should be shut and a replacement be built elsewhere in Japan or overseas.

Local residents yesterday staged a protest in the Henoko district in central Okinawa, where the central government plans to build a replacement facility for the base, Kyodo News reported.

Henoko is a small coastal area on Okinawa.

All sides agree that Futenma's current site - in the middle of a crowded urban area where its aircraft are a nuisance to thousands of residents - is not appropriate, but the US will not close it until a replacement facility is ready.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 13, 2015, with the headline 'Work resumes on new US base in Okinawa'. Print Edition | Subscribe