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4. Okinawa governor to order halt of offshore work

The governor of Okinawa, southern Japan, plans to order a local defense bureau to suspend offshore work needed to relocate a US military base.

The Okinawa Defense Bureau has been engaged in work since February to reclaim an area in waters off Nago City's coastal district of Henoko. The reclamation is needed to build a replacement for the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station, which stands in a densely populated area of Ginowan City.

Prefectural officials are taking issue with concrete blocks placed in the sea as part of the work. They say their size and locations are different from what the bureau planned when it got permission to destroy rocky reefs on the sea floor. The bureau says its plan has not changed.

Governor Takeshi Onaga plans to soon order the bureau to suspend the work. He says the body is not following a requirement that it provide information without delay when asked about progress in the work.

The bureau is expected to reject the suspension order. Although a permit is needed to destroy rocky reefs for work done where fishers have the right to operate, the bureau says no permit is needed, as local fishers have renounced such rights.

Onaga has been trying to block the relocation. He pledged to do so using all means available when he was elected governor in late 2014.

On Monday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga indicated that if Onaga is found to have abused his power, the central government could seek damages.
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