Choice To Be Added For Base Referendum In Okinawa

Choice to be added for base referendum in Okinawa

Members of the prefectural assembly in Japan's southwestern prefecture of Okinawa have agreed to add another choice for a planned referendum on relocation of a US base in the prefecture.

They decided to add "neither" to the initially proposed two options of "yes" or "no" to the relocation plan.

The assembly decided to hold the referendum in the wake of wide local objections to a plan to relocate the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Ginowan City to the less populated Henoko area within the prefecture. The date of the referendum was set for February 24th.

But Ginowan and four other cities opted not to take part on the grounds that just the "yes" or "no" options are insufficient to ascertain the people's will. That would have reduced the number of voting municipalities to 36.

On Wednesday, the assembly's ruling bloc, which supports anti-relocation Governor Denny Tamaki, decided to allow other choices in the upcoming referendum.

The next day, all political groups in the assembly agreed to add "neither".

It is widely believed that the agreement will lead to implementation of the referendum at all municipalities in Okinawa.