A majority of voters in a closely-watched referendum on the Japanese island of Okinawa have reportedly rejected a controversial plan by the government to relocate and expand a US military base there.
According to exit polls cited by the local media on Sunday, more than 70 percent of Okinawan voters opposed the relocation and expansion of the US Marines’ Futenma air base to a remote part within the prefecture.
Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported that the overall ballots cast by opponents to the project could top the record 396,632 votes that put Okinawa Governor Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki into office last September.
Tamaki campaigned against and remains staunchly opposed to the plan.
Official results are expected late Sunday or on Monday.
The central government’s plan requires the US air base — which is currently located in a busy and densely-populated part of Okinawa — to be moved to the remote coastal region of Henoko in…