The Okinawan chapter of Japan’s Defense Ministry has started constructing seawalls to surround an area in a coastal region on the island for the controversial relocation of a U.S. military base amid uproar from local residents, Xinhua reports.
The Okinawa Defense Bureau launched full-scale operations to build seawalls around a site to be filled with sand and earth that will prevent sediment spreading.
This land reclamation work and future construction is to facilitate the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Air Station Futenma, Xinhua said.
The Futenma base is currently located in a densely- populated area of Ginowan in Okinawa and will be relocated to the coastal area of Henoko in Nago City, as per the central government’s plans despite resolute local opposition.
The Defense Bureau’s new phase of construction follows maritime reclamation work in February involving dropping concrete blocks into the sea off the coast of Henoko from vessels equipped with large cranes. The vessels dropped 220 blocks, each weighing 14 tons to form barriers in four areas in the sea where the seawalls will be built.
The construction work has drawn staunch criticism from local residents as well as officials in Okinawa, and protests to the reclamation work have been frequent.