Plans to relocate the controversial U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, to Nago, also on the Okinawan main island, have hit another serious roadblock after the Jan. 19 re-election of Nago’s anti-base mayor, Susumu Inamine.
A land reclamation project needed to build new runways for the base in Nago’s Henoko district was approved by Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima in December last year, and the Japanese government plans to move ahead with the relocation. The 68-year-old Inamine, however, plans to draw up a list of every legal means at the disposal of the mayor’s office to hinder construction of the new base, and put the most effective options into effect post haste.
“It is a mayor’s duty to protect the lives and property of the citizenry. I will respond to the relocation using all the rights of civic administration available to me,” Inamine said after his election victory, buoyed by the endorsement of Nago voters and unabashed in his determination to stop the U.S. Marine base from coming to his city. It would seem his position has solid support, as a Mainichi Shimbun exit poll showed that some 64 percent of voters were opposed to the base relocation.