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
Jan 20
Tickets for all of host-nation Japan's Rugby World Cup 2019 pool games have sold out following the start of sales on a first-come, first-serve basis, organizers said Saturday. (Japan Today)
Jan 20
More than half a million high-school students and graduates across Japan are putting their knowledge to the test at unified college and university entrance exams. (NHK)
Jan 20
Police in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, have arrested an 80-year-old man on suspicion of murder after he threw oil on his 79-year-old wife and set fire to her inside a car. (Japan Today)
Jan 20
A public high school in Machida City has apologized to a boy after the emergence online of a video that purportedly shows a male teacher assaulting him, reports Fuji News Network (
Jan 20
Work began in northeastern Japan on Saturday to tear down a former town hall building where dozens of people died in a tsunami in 2011, despite calls from some residents to preserve it as a memorial. (Japan Today)
Jan 20
The Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11), a trade pact among 11 Pacific Rim nations, officially opened its doors to new members on Saturday in a move aimed at bolstering free trade at a time when the U.S. and China remain locked in a trade war. (Nikkei)
Jan 19
The number of suicides in Japan dropped 3.4 percent from a year earlier to 20,598 in 2018, down for the ninth year and the lowest in 37 years amid economic recovery, preliminary data by the National Police Agency showed Friday. (Japan Today)
Jan 19
Japan's Epsilon-4 rocket has put into orbit seven small satellites that were developed by private-sector companies and universities. (NHK)
Jan 19
The body of a man struck by an oncoming train at a station in Fujimi City hit and injured two women on the platform, police said on Friday, reports TV Asahi. (
Jan 19
A glance at the World University Rankings, published last September by the Times Higher Education, reveals the following major changes in the rankings compared with the previous year. (Japan Times)