“lip service”には、「（非難して）口先だけの好意、賛同」という意味があります。『Wisdom英和辞典』（三省堂）「A（人）にB（お世辞などを）言う」という意味の”pay”を伴って、”pay lip service”となると、「口先だけで返事をする」という意味になります。リップサービスとカタカナで用いられることもあるようです。
Okinawa’s story told differently in Tokyo
It’s difficult to imagine that happening, which isn’t to say Okinawans aren’t capable of such concerted action, but rather that the U.S. military, which pays lip service to local “self-determination” whenever it embarks on overseas adventures, is not so foolish as to force on a native population a situation that Americans themselves would never tolerate. Moreover, as Uchida said during the DTV discussion, the strategic importance of Henoko has always been in dispute, even among Americans with knowledge about the issue.
The more immediate mystery is why the central government is so intent on going through with Henoko. The new governor, Takeshi Onaga, has tried to meet with Abe since he was elected. Reportedly, he has a plan that would offer a compromise on U.S. presence in Okinawa if the rest of Japan accepted more of the base burden. Given that Abe has refused to see him at least four times, it appears the prime minister is through discussing the matter, and he trusts the press will help him avoid having to think about it, too.