MILITARY

Okinawa orders halt to work related to US military base relocation after finding coral damage

  • Japanese police officers stand guard as a protester against the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, as protesters stage a rally outside Camp Schwab, an American base near a planned relocation site, in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, Monday, March 23, 2015. The governor of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa has ordered a Defense Ministry branch to suspend all work at the site where a key U.S. military air base is to be relocated. The U.S. and Japan reached the relocation agreement in 1996. The banner reads: "Henoko, Block reclamation." (AP Photo/ Eugene Hoshiko)

    Japanese police officers stand guard as a protester against the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, as protesters stage a rally outside Camp Schwab, an American base near a planned relocation site, in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, Monday, March 23, 2015. The governor of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa has ordered a Defense Ministry branch to suspend all work at the site where a key U.S. military air base is to be relocated. The U.S. and Japan reached the relocation agreement in 1996. The banner reads: "Henoko, Block reclamation." (AP Photo/ Eugene Hoshiko)  (The Associated Press)

  • Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga speaks during a news conference in Naha on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa Monday, March 23, 2015. Onaga has ordered a Defense Ministry branch to suspend all work at the site where a key U.S. military air base is to be relocated. Onaga told the news conference that a concrete anchor thrown into the sea for a drilling survey of the reef at the designated site known as Henoko is believed have damaged coral. (AP Photo/Kyodo News, Keiichiro Hoshino) JAPAN OUT, CREDIT MANDATORY

    Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga speaks during a news conference in Naha on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa Monday, March 23, 2015. Onaga has ordered a Defense Ministry branch to suspend all work at the site where a key U.S. military air base is to be relocated. Onaga told the news conference that a concrete anchor thrown into the sea for a drilling survey of the reef at the designated site known as Henoko is believed have damaged coral. (AP Photo/Kyodo News, Keiichiro Hoshino) JAPAN OUT, CREDIT MANDATORY  (The Associated Press)

  • A member of a local citizens group, Osamu Makishi, inspects the damage to coral reefs caused by concrete anchors and chains that were thrown into the sea for a drilling survey in Oura bay, near a planned relocation site, in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The governor of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa has ordered a branch of the Defense Ministry  to suspend all work at the site where a key U.S. military air base is to be relocated. The U.S. and Japan reached the relocation agreement in 1996. (AP Photo/Emily Wang)

    A member of a local citizens group, Osamu Makishi, inspects the damage to coral reefs caused by concrete anchors and chains that were thrown into the sea for a drilling survey in Oura bay, near a planned relocation site, in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The governor of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa has ordered a branch of the Defense Ministry to suspend all work at the site where a key U.S. military air base is to be relocated. The U.S. and Japan reached the relocation agreement in 1996. (AP Photo/Emily Wang)  (The Associated Press)

The governor of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa has ordered a Defense Ministry branch to suspend all work at the site where a key U.S. military air base is to be relocated.

Gov. Takeshi Onaga said Monday that a concrete block thrown into the sea for a drilling survey of the reef at the designated site is believed to have damaged coral.

With the approval of Onaga's predecessor, the Defense Bureau last year began preparing the site for the eventual transfer of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. Many people on Okinawa want Futenma moved completely off the island.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the survey should proceed regardless of the governor's order.