Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has met the governor of Okinawa following a local referendum in which a majority voted "no" to landfill work for relocating a US military base within the southern prefecture.
Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki visited Abe at the prime minister's office on Friday to report the outcome of the February 24 referendum.
With voter turnout a little over 50 percent, more than 70 percent of the voters rejected the reclamation work in Henoko for replacing the US Marines Corps Futenma Air Station, which is located in a densely populated area of the prefecture.
A local ordinance requires the Okinawa governor to report the result to the prime minister and the US president if a quarter of all eligible voters chose one of the options in the referendum.
Tamaki said the result is extremely significant because it made clear for the first time that the people of Okinawa want the relocation project to be scrapped.
Tamaki asked the central government to squarely respond to the calls by the people of Okinawa and stop the construction work.
He also asked for a three-way meeting of Okinawa and the central governments of the US and Japan to discuss the issue of bases.
Abe said his government takes the referendum result sincerely and will work to produce results in easing the burden of the US bases in Okinawa one by one.
He said the Futenma airfield has been described as the most dangerous base in the world and there must be no delay in resolving the situation. Abe said he will continue his efforts to seek the understanding of the people of Okinawa.