The LA Times reported on Dec. 27, 2013, that the governor of Okinawa has given the OK for a new United States Marine base to be built on reclaimed land. The military base is going to be relocated to a less populous part of the southern island, but there was still going to be pressure of moving the base off of the island entirely.
This move is a big achievement for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has promised a more robust military with tighter security ties with the United States amid escalating tension with China.
A number of skeptics still aren't sure that the relocation of the Okinawa Marine base will actually take place given constant opposition from the residents. A number of Okinawa residents associate the U.S. bases with pollution, noise, and crime.
Okinawa Governor Hiroazu Nakaima said he had approved a central government request for a landfill project at the new site, on the Henoko coast near the town of Nago.
"The government has recently met our requests in compiling a plan to reinvigorate Okinawa. We felt that the Abe government's regard for Okinawa is higher than any previous governments'," Nakaima told a news conference.
The Japanese governor continued on saying he believed that the quickest way to relocate the Futenma air base in the crowded town of Ginowan would be to move it to an existing facility with runways outside of Okinawa.
A large protest of close to 2,000 people gathered in front of the Okinawa government building to speak against the Marine base move.