Japan's Defense Ministry is set to resume reclamation work in Okinawa to relocate a US military base within the southern island prefecture.
Land minister Keiichi Ishii issued an injunction on Tuesday giving a green light to the work. His ministry has jurisdiction over the land reclamation law.
The Defense Ministry wants to build an airfield in Henoko, Nago City to relocate the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station. It is presently located in a densely populated area.
But Okinawa Prefecture revoked the landfill permit for Henoko in August, honoring the wishes of late governor Takeshi Onaga who opposed the relocation plan.
The Defense Ministry responded by filing an objection in mid-October under the administrative complaint review act.
Land minister Ishii said his ministry studied documents presented by both sides of the dispute and decided to temporarily suspend Okinawa's decision.
Ishii said halting the reclamation work will cause economic losses and make it difficult to reduce accidents and noise near the Futenma base at an early date.
He also cited the possible adverse effect on the Japan-US alliance and other defense and diplomatic interests.
Following the land ministry's decision, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya says he intends to move ahead quickly with preparations to resume reclamation work. He said his ministry is proceeding under a consistent policy of easing the burden on Okinawa.
Meanwhile, Okinawa's Vice Governor Moritake Tomikawa says the land ministry's injunction that will allow reclamation work for a US military base is unreasonable.
He told reporters that he would determine whether the injunction has legal authority and if there are any other legal options and then brief the governor.