200,000 Sign Petition To Halt Okinawa Landfill

200,000 sign petition to halt Okinawa landfill

About 200,000 people have signed a petition asking the White House to halt the ongoing landfill work in the Henoko coastal district of Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan.

The work is part of a project to relocate the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station, which is currently located in a heavily populated part of Okinawa.

A US resident of Okinawan descent started the campaign on December 8th, calling for the work to be suspended.

The campaign is using a White House online system for accepting petitions. The US government is supposed to respond if the number of signatures exceeds 100,000 within a month. The petition hit that number last month.

Guitarist Brian May of the British rock band Queen and other celebrities have expressed their support.
Leaders of the campaign rallied in front of the White House on Monday.

Signatures are to be accepted until the US government issues an official response. The US has maintained its stance of proceeding with the base relocation in cooperation with the Japanese government.

An Okinawan resident, Madoka Yamada, said the local people are questioning whether it is allowed under a democratic system to ignore the will of the people and go ahead with the reclamation work. She adds that she wants people around the world to know how the Okinawans feel.