Local authorities on Okinawa have filed a lawsuit against the central government in a bid to stop the relocation of a U.S. air base on the southern Japanese island.

Okinawa says the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism illegally suspended the prefectural governor's cancellation of approval for reclamation work needed to relocate U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to a less-populated part of the island. Many residents want the base moved out of Okinawa entirely.

The central government filed its own lawsuit against Gov. Takeshi Onaga last month, after he rejected an order from the Land Ministry to reinstate approval, issued by his predecessor, for the land reclamation. The ministry went ahead with the reclamation work.