72+ percent of voters in Okinawa on Sunday voted against relocating U.S. Marine Corps Air Station, in a closely watched prefecture-wide referendum, first of its kind on the issue.
According to the Okinawa Government, turnout hit 52.48 percent, topping the 50 percent threshold, a line seen by observers as lending legitimacy to the referendum.
The prefectural government said the number of “no” votes stood at 434,273 or 72.2 percent of the total voters, surpassing 396,632, the figure Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki garnered in last September’s gubernatorial election when he campaigned on a platform of blocking the relocation plan.
“This is a big step for the development of democracy in Okinawa. I want the central government to respect the will of the Okinawan people,” Jinshiro Motoyama, who led the effort to hold the referendum, said