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Campaign starts for referendum on U.S. base plan in Okinawa

Staff Writer |
Opponents of the relocation of a U.S. military base within Okinawa Prefecture were out in full force on Feb. 14, the official start of the campaign for a referendum on the contentious issue.

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The referendum, which will be held on Feb. 24, will ask voters to choose between favoring or opposing the relocation plan or not having an opinion either way.

The vote concerns landfill work at the Henoko district of Nago that would serve as the new home for the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which is now located in a densely populated area of Ginowan.

Several hundred opponents gathered in front of Camp Schwab where the land reclamation work continues off the Henoko coast for eventual construction of a runway for the base.

The demonstrators held signs calling on Okinawa voters to cast ballots opposing the relocation.

“It will be possible to stop the work if the strong will of the Okinawa people is displayed,” Susumu Inamine, the former Nago mayor, told the crowd. “Let us demonstrate our beliefs in a way that will remain in history.”

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