World / Asia-Pacific

Japan's Okinawa orders to halt US base relocation work

(Xinhua/Agencies) Updated: 2015-03-23 15:33

Japan's Okinawa orders to halt US base relocation work

Anti-base activists hold signs reading "Stop landfill at Henoko" and "No new base", in front of a gate of the US Marine Corps' Camp Schwab at the tiny hamlet of Henoko in Nago on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, January 15, 2015, in this photo taken by Kyodo. [Photo/Agencies]

TOKYO - Japan's Okinawa prefectural government on Monday ordered to suspend underwater work in the Henoko coastal area in Nago city in the Japan's southernmost island prefecture for a relocation site for the US Futenma airbase, local report said.

Okinawa Govenor Takeshi Onaga told reporters that if the Okinawa Defense Bureau does not follow the order, the Okinawa government would revoke in a week its permit granted to the bureau for rock drilling at the site.

The island is home to about half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan, and residents have frequently complained about crime, noise and other issues related to the US bases. The US government wants to relocate one base, the Marine Corps Futenma air station, to another area of Okinawa, but many people want it moved completely off the island.

American and Japanese authorities are working to ensure the safety of US personnel in Japan after media reports of death threats against US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and another American diplomat, the US State Department said last Wednesday.

The US Embassy in Tokyo received the threats by telephone last month, with several phone calls made by an English-speaking man, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported, citing a Tokyo police official.

The threats also targeted the US consul general in Okinawa, Alfred Magleby, according to Yomiuri and other Japanese and US media reports. Okinawa island is known in Japan as host to the bulk of US service personnel stationed in the country.

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