Japan’s Defense Ministry plans to start a new phase of works to relocate a US military base within the southern prefecture of Okinawa despite local opposition.

Ministry sources say that if weather permits, the Okinawa bureau will start constructing seawalls on Tuesday to surround an area where an alternative facility for the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station will be built.

The bureau began reclamation works in February and has installed silt fences to stop muddy water from spilling.

Workers will sink stones into the sea, and fill the encircled area with soil and sand.

The seawall construction marks the start of full-scale reclamation works. The walls are expected to make it difficult to return the area to its original state.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga has attempted to stop the relocation plan many times.

Onaga argues that the defense bureau has not obtained permission from the prefecture to destroy seabed rocks to install the fences.

He indicated that that he may file a lawsuit to seek a court order to stop the construction.

The US and Japanese governments agreed to relocate the air station from a densely populated area in Ginowan City to a coastal area of Nago City.

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