TOKYO: Japan said on Monday it was sticking with plans to relocate a controversial United States (US) military base in Okinawa, despite the election of a local politician strongly opposed to the move.
Susumu Inamine was re–elected mayor at this weekend’s polls in Nago on the east coast of Okinawa, where the base is to be moved.
His victory marked a fresh setback for long-stalled efforts by Tokyo and Washington to relocate the Marines’ Futenma Air Station, more than 17 years after the move was first agreed.
On Monday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga described the weekend election results as “very regrettable,” but added that Tokyo would work to change Inamine’s mind “patiently.”
“There will be no change in going ahead” with the move, Suga told reporters in Tokyo.
“Japan is a country ruled by law and we will carry out [the project]calmly based on legal procedures.”