Japan's Defense Ministry has begun the next stage of construction on a controversial US military facility in Okinawa. They're reclaiming land on a new 33-hectare plot. Workers have begun pouring sand and dirt into the sea off the coast of Nago City.
They've already been doing that on an adjacent site. The two areas account for about a quarter of the planned construction.
The plan has drawn local criticism. In a referendum last month, a majority of voters opposed the landfill work.
Groups of protesters came out Monday to voice their objections.
One female protester said, "It's totally unacceptable. Local people's decisions are being completely ignored."
The US and Japanese governments want to relocate US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station from its current location in a densely populated area of the prefecture.
Leaders in Tokyo say the only solution is to build a site in the less populated coastal area of Henoko.
The Okinawa government has demanded that the work be cancelled.