Japan to hold referendum on US base relocation

Tokyo, Oct 26 : Okinawa in Japan on Friday approved a bill to hold a referendum on the country's controversial plan to relocate a US military base within the island.

The referendum would be held within six months and the detailed schedule would be set by Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki, Xinhua news agency reported.

The bill got the nod after a civil group collected 93,000 signatures and filed a petition in September.

Citizens can request a referendum if they manage one-50th of all voters, for Okinawa it is 23,000.

The people of the island that hosts the bulk of US bases despite accounting only 0.6 per cent of the total land mass, has asked for removal of all American bases citing health issues due to aircraft noises and safety concerns over crimes committed by the US servicemen.

The Shinzo Abe government did not accept and had only approved the transfer of the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to coastal area from a crowded residential district.

The Abe administration has said that relocation was "the only solution" for removing the dangers without undermining the Tokyo-washington alliance.



Source: IANS