Govt. starts landfill work in Okinawa
NHK -- Dec 15
Japan's central government is pushing ahead with a controversial plan to relocate an American military base within the southern prefecture of Okinawa. They've started full-scale land reclamation work despite strong local opposition.

Crews have begun pouring sand and dirt into the coastal area of Henoko so the base can be moved there. The reclamation had been suspended due to legal battles between the central and local governments.

The US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station currently sits in a densely populated area and poses a safety concern because of the volume of military air traffic.

Both Tokyo and Washington maintain the planned move is the only solution.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, "With the security environment surrounding Japan becoming increasingly serious, we want to maintain deterrence under the Japan-US alliance. And bearing in mind we also need to eliminate the risks posed by the Futenma base, relocating to Henoko is the only viable option."

Tokyo's move drew an angry response from Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki. He was elected in September and wants the base moved out of the prefecture altogether, just as his predecessor did.

Tamaki said, "By proceeding with the construction quickly, the central government is trying hard to make it a foregone conclusion and get the people of Okinawa to give up. But in fact, such moves will only invite strong opposition from people here. So the central government needs to understand that the more they push ahead with the work, the more they will add fuel to the burning anger of the people in Okinawa."

Dozens of protestors gathered near the site on Friday morning to voice their disapproval.

Many in Okinawa feel they bear an unfair burden. The prefecture hosts about 70 percent of US military facilities in Japan.

Discussions over the relocation started between Washington and Tokyo more than 20 years ago.

The Okinawa government plans to hold a non-binding referendum on the issue in February.

News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
Mar 22
The cherry blossom season officially arrived in Tokyo on Thursday after officials from the Meteorological Agency confirmed that more than five blossoms had opened on a Somei-Yoshino cherry tree at Yasukuni Shrine in Chiyoda Ward. (Japan Times)
Mar 22
Japanese baseball legend Ichiro Suzuki of the US Major Leagues' Seattle Mariners has announced his retirement. (NHK)
Mar 22
Last year proved to be a pivotal one for streaming music in Japan. According to a report by the Recording Industry Association of Japan, 2018 saw plays via platforms such as YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify overtake digital downloads. (Japan Times)
Mar 21
Cherry trees came into bloom Wednesday in the southwestern prefecture of Nagasaki, the first blooming of the "Somei Yoshino" variety in Japan this spring, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. (Japan Today)
Mar 21
Police on Wednesday arrested an American man on suspicion of fatally stabbing his Japanese wife at a court where they were to settle a divorce. (Japan Today)
Mar 21
The unmanned space probe Hayabusa2 has detected small amounts of minerals containing water on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu, a Japanese research team has said. (Japan Times)
Mar 21
Police on Thursday arrested a 14-year-old junior high school boy on suspicion of attempted murder after he stabbed a classmate at their school in Saijo, Ehime Prefecture. (Japan Today)
Mar 20
As trade talks between Japan and the US look likely to start soon, and the price of oil drops in Japan, the value of the Yen is increasingly under threat of deflation. (
Mar 20
The head of the Japanese Olympic Committee has announced he will step down when his term expires in June. (NHK)
Mar 20
The average price of all types of land in urban areas rose last year for the first time since 1992 as the growing influx of foreign tourists rejuvenated real estate investment, the government said Tuesday. (Japan Times)