NAHA--Okinawa prefectural officials have set Aug. 31 for revoking the permit granted by a former governor for land reclamation work in the Henoko district of Nago in northern Okinawa Prefecture for a new U.S. military base.

Prefectural officials apparently decided that a late August date would be preferable given the wishes of the late Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga and the many local elections scheduled in September, including the gubernatorial poll on Sept. 30.

The land reclamation is considered a major step toward constructing a new base for the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Ginowan in central Okinawa Prefecture to Henoko, in the same prefecture.

If permission is revoked, construction work for the base would be halted.

On Aug. 28, Deputy Governor Moritake Tomikawa, the current acting governor, and Kiichiro Jahana, another deputy governor, discussed the matter with lawyers and other members, and decided to revoke the permit on Aug. 31.

The central government notified Okinawa Prefecture that it planned to begin dumping dirt and sand for land reclamation on the coastal area as early as Aug. 17.

However, the dumping of dirt and sand off the coast could bring heavy opposition from residents, affecting the gubernatorial election.

The central government plans to carefully assess the timing of starting the reclamation work and postponing it until after the election would be an option.

On July 27, Onaga declared his intent to revoke the approval given by former Governor Hirokazu Nakaima before the actual work started.

The two deputy governors and other officials have proceeded with the revoking procedure even after Onaga’s death on Aug. 8, while watching closely the timing of when the work would begin.

The two deputy governors had been asked by Onaga's supporters and members of the “All Okinawa” movement, which supported his re-election, to conduct the revocation prior to Sept. 2.

That's when campaigning begins for local elections including the Nago and Ginowan assembly elections.

Those local campaigns are regarded as a prelude to the Sept. 30 gubernatorial election.

In addition, the timing of the revocation could benefit Denny Tamaki, a 58-year-old Lower House lawmaker from the Liberal Party, who plans to run for governor. Tamaki is one of two potential successors named by Onaga.

The two deputy governors likely want to start the gubernatorial election campaign at a time that relocation work has been stopped.

The central government plans to seek a court suspension of execution of Okinawa's revocation. If Okinawa's action is invalidated, relocation work could be resumed within several weeks to several months.