Japan likely to hold referendum on US base relocation

  25 January 2019    Read: 1738
Japan likely to hold referendum on US base relocation

Japan is likely to hold a referendum in southern Okinawa region on Feb. 24 on whether to relocate a U.S. military base in the country, Anadolu Agency reported citing local media.

According to The Japan Times, work is underway to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Ginowan to Henoko. Washington and Tokyo had reached an agreement in 1996 in this regard.

Previously, politicians in 5 of the 41 municipalities in the region had refused to participate in two-choicereferendum planned for Feb. 24, the daily said.

However, on Thursday, representatives of the political blocs in the region’s assembly agreed to add ‘neither’ to ‘yes’ and ‘no’ as a choice in the referendum, it added.

The voters in the five cities -- Miyakojima, Ginowan, Okinawa, Ishigaki and Uruma -- account for 32 percent of all eligible voters in the region. “Without their input, the validity of the referendum is likely to be questioned,” the daily noted in its report.

The required ordinance to amend the earlier structure of the vote is likely to be approved at a plenary session in the region’s assembly on coming Tuesday.

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