The Supreme Court on Dec. 20 rejected an appeal from the Okinawa prefectural government to stop the central government’s plan to relocate U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within the prefecture.

The rejection by the top court’s second petty bench finalized Okinawa's loss in the conflict to halt the relocation from densely populated Ginowan in the prefecture to the coastal Henoko district of Nago.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga’s predecessor, Hirokazu Nakaima, approved the central government’s application for reclaiming the sea area off Henoko in December 2013. However, Onaga, who was elected in 2014 on a campaign pledge to oppose the relocation within the prefecture, nullified Nakaima’s approval in October 2015. Onaga wants the air station moved out of the prefecture.

The central government and the Okinawa prefectural government filed a total of three lawsuits against each other. In March this year, they reached a compromise.

Based on the articles described in the compromise, the central government instructed the prefectural government to retract nullification of the approval. However, Onaga did not comply with the instruction.

Because of that, the central government filed a lawsuit with the Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court against Onaga, seeking confirmation that his rejection of the instruction is illegal.

In September, the branch accepted the central government’s assertions, saying, “It is illegal for Onaga not to withdraw the nullification of the approval.”

It also said, “In order to remove the dangers of Air Station Futenma, there are no other ways except for constructing a new facility in Henoko.”