Tokyo, Feb. 15 (Jiji Press)–Over half of Japanese people believe that the central government should follow the will of voters in Okinawa Prefecture to be shown in the Feb. 24 referendum there on the planned relocation of a U.S. military base, a Jiji Press survey for February revealed Friday.
The share of respondents with this opinion rose 1.8 percentage points from the January poll to 51.3 pct.
The proportion of those who called for the base relocation within the southern prefecture to be carried out regardless of the referendum result also increased, by 1.6 points to 25.1 pct.
Meanwhile, respondents who said that the relocation plan should be canceled anyway accounted for 9.8 pct, down 3.2 points.
The share of respondents who took no position on the base issue decreased 0.2 point to 13.8 pct.
In the February survey, a total of 2,000 adults were interviewed across the country in four days through Monday, with 61.1 pct of them giving valid responses.
In the referendum, Okinawa voters will be asked whether they support or oppose the construction of a new U.S. facility in the Henoko coastal area in Nago to transfer the functions of the Marine Corps’ Futenma air base in Ginowan. They are also offered the option of a neutral position.
The referendum’s result will have no binding force. A related prefectural ordinance calls on the Okinawa governor to notify the prime minister and the U.S. president of the result if the winning option is backed by a quarter or more of all eligible voters in the prefecture.
The central government, meanwhile, is set to proceed with the base relocation work regardless of the referendum result.