MOSCOW - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed on Friday to do everything possible to win the understanding on the issue of relocation of the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station to another site within the Okinawa Prefecture, local media reported. On Thursday, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that landfill works necessary for the relocation of the US military base had been resumed in the city of Nago in spite of the local authorities’ criticism. The works were suspended in August in line with the local authorities’ decision but the Japanese government had reversed the ban on Tuesday. Abe made the statement during his speech at the Lower House Budget Committee meeting, the NHK broadcaster reported.

The prime minister promised to win the support of Okinawa residents for the base’s relocation, as well as return the land, which belongs to the Futenma Air Station, to the public use as soon as possible.

The opposition insists that making a decision on the base’s relocation without taking into account the public opinion is unacceptable.

US Marine Corps base Futenma was constructed in 1945 and is located in a densely populated area in Ginowan. Talks on its relocation to a less populated area within the Okinawa prefecture started over two decades ago, but the government’s plans have been hampered by Nago residents’ protests. While Ginowan residents have been calling on the government to close the Futenma base due to their environmental concerns, aircraft incidents and accidents related to US troops behavior, Nago residents are also unwilling to see the base relocated to their city.