TOKYO -- Tokyo and local officials are digging in their heels in an escalating dispute over the relocation of a U.S. military base on Okinawa, with the Defense Ministry on Tuesday challenging a directive from the governor to suspend construction work.
On Monday, Gov. Takeshi Onaga called a temporary halt to underwater drilling at the planned relocation site for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, contending that concrete blocks laid on the seabed have damaged coral. The previous governor had granted permission for the destruction of reefs last August, but Onaga warned that this would be revoked if the Okinawa Defense Bureau -- the local branch of the country's Defense Ministry -- does not suspend the survey-related work within a week.
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