Photo/IllutrationA petition on the “We the People” site asks U.S. President Donald Trump to halt land reclamation work off the Henoko area of Okinawa Prefecture. (Kazuyuki Ito)

An online petition has gained 100,000 signatures asking U.S. President Donald Trump to stop land reclamation work for a new U.S. military base in the Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture.

The petition, created on Dec. 8, appears on the “We the People” section of the White House website.

The section, set up under President Barack Obama, allows individuals to start petitions seeking federal government action on certain issues. If a petition gains 100,000 signatures in 30 days, the federal government is supposed to consider the issue and release an official response.

On the afternoon of Dec. 18, the petition concerning Okinawa Prefecture reached that mark, well ahead of the Jan. 7 deadline.

“Please show Okinawans that America is indeed an honorable and great nation,” the petition says to Trump.

Robert Kajiwara, a Japanese-American who lives in Hawaii, started the petition. The maternal side of his family has roots in Okinawa.

Kajiwara’s petition directly calls on Trump to take action to halt the work that is dumping tons of dirt and sand into the waters off Henoko. The work is an “irreversible part” in the project to build a base that will take over the functions of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma now in Ginowan in the same prefecture.

The petition says construction work must be halted until Okinawa holds a referendum on the issue on Feb. 24.

Denny Tamaki was elected governor of Okinawa Prefecture in late September on a campaign to stop the relocation of the Futenma air station within the prefecture.

The petition says the landfill work “will surely incur strong anti-U.S. sentiment among Okinawans and will forever strain U.S.-Okinawa relations.”

“Landfill work in Henoko is an insult to democracy for Okinawan people,” Kajiwara, 32, said in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun. “It is important for both the Japanese and U.S. governments to listen to the people’s voices and respect and practice democracy. That means stopping the construction of a military base.”

The petition can be viewed and signed at: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-landfill-henoko-oura-bay-until-referendum-can-be-held-okinawa