Japan’s central government asked a court today to force Okinawa’s governor to clear work on the relocation of America’s Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on the island. U.S., Japanese and Okinawan officials have agreed since 1996 that the base needs to be closed. Schools, hospitals, offices and thousands of residents all are in close proximity to Futenma, currently home to the First Marine Air Wing’s Marine Aircraft Group and its two Bell Boeing MV-22 squadrons. The U.S. and Japan want the base relocated about 30 mi northeast to a less populated part of Okinawa, in Henoko near the Marines’ Camp Schwab. But many Okinawans want the Marine air operations gone from the island, which they argue houses a sliver of Japan’s population but the vast majority of U.S. military personnel. Governor Takeshi Onaga has agreed and refused to reinstate a revoked permit to fill land at the new site on which two 4,000-ft runways would be built. The court is expected to hear the national government’s arguments in December.