Okinawa Rally Mourns Governor, Opposes US Base Relocation

Protesters display signs that say "NO!" to a planned U.S. military base relocation during a rally in Naha, southern Okinawa on Saturday, Aug. 11. (Koji Harada/Kyodo News via AP)
Protesters display signs that say "NO!" to a planned U.S. military base relocation during a rally in Naha, southern Okinawa on Saturday, Aug. 11. (Koji Harada/Kyodo News via AP)

TOKYO -- Tens of thousands of protesters have gathered in Okinawa, vowing to stop a planned U.S. military base relocation on the southern Japanese island.

They paid tribute to Gov. Takeshi Onaga, who died last week after leading Okinawa's anti-U.S. military base movement since elected in 2014. He had promised to prevent the central government from bulldozing a contentious relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps air station to a less populated part of Okinawa. He also criticized Tokyo for neglecting Okinawa's will and was preparing to revoke a landfill permit issued by his predecessor.

Deputy Gov. Kiichiro Jahana, representing Onaga at Saturday's rally, says he will follow through a revocation process.

About half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan are stationed on Okinawa.

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