A non-binding referendum on the relocation of a US Marine Corps base on the island of Okinawa will be held on Sunday, February 24. All 41 municipalities in Okinawa prefecture will participate in the vote, which will allow residents to express their support or opposition to moving the US military base from the Ginowan area to the Henoko district of Nago. Campaigning for the vote began on Thursday, February 14, and associated rallies are likely across Okinawa prefecture in the coming days and weeks. Heightened security measures and localized traffic disruptions are anticipated around all referendum related events.
The Futenma airbase has become a point of political controversy in recent years due in particular to population growth and encroachment around the base, as well as concerns surrounding flights over residential areas causing noise, air pollution, and endangering public safety.
Individuals in Okinawa prefecture, particularly in Naha, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.