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Survey for US base relocation in Okinawa extended

Japan

Japanese defense authorities say the deadline to finish an underwater drilling survey will be extended until the end of next March. It is being carried out before the planned construction of a US military facility in Okinawa.

The Okinawa Defense Bureau began the survey in August in the Henoko area of Nago City. It is in preparation for reclamation work to build a replacement facility for the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station now located in Ginowan City.

Bureau officials have already surveyed 12 of 24 sites. They initially planned to complete the survey by the end of November.

The bureau announced the extension of the deadline on Friday, saying the survey has been delayed due to a series of typhoons.
The bureau is also extending until the end of next March the deadline to draw up a detailed reclamation plan.

Bureau officials say there will be no change in the entire schedule for relocating the Futenma Air Station. They are accelerating preparations for resuming the drilling survey.

But Okinawa governor-elect Takeshi Onaga has vowed to block the relocation of the Futenma base within Okinawa Prefecture.

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