Compiled from reports and editorial of the Ryukyu Shimpo on the 2+2 Meeting

U.S.-Japan 2+2 decides on a V-shaped runway at Henoko and the withdrawal from the timeline for relocation of the Futenma

June 22, 2011 reports of Washington DC, by Hideki Matsudo of Ryukyu Shimpo

The U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee meeting of defence ministers and foreign ministers (2+2) was held in Washington on June 21. With regard to the relocation plan for the United States Marine Corps Futenma Air Station, a pending issue between both governments, they backed down on the deadline of 2014 to complete it and reconfirmed that it will “be completed as soon as possible.”
Both governments agreed to go ahead with the building of a V-shaped runway 1800 meters long at Henoko-zaki in Nago City. They suggest that there could be minor adjustments to allow environmental impact assessments to be made regarding building the runway offshore without any significant delay in the schedule or obstructions to the construction.
Both governments also shared their views on the establishment of a regional hub for disaster relief. It is speculated that the candidate locations will be somewhere in the Ryukyu Islands, including Shimoji-jima. They expect this to deepen the nature of the US-Japan alliance by incorporating the center within its international contribution.

The meeting was attended by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Minister for Foreign Affairs Takeaki Matsumoto, and Minister of Defense Toshimi Kitazawa. At the press conference after the committee meeting, Gates said that they “emphasized the importance of concrete progress over the course of the next year.” Kitazawa said, “We will make every effort to gain the understanding of the local people.”

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“Incomprehensible!” Governor of Okinawa expresses strong discomfort towards the proposed V-shaped runway at Henoko

June 22, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

Okinawa Prefectural Governor Hirokazu Nakaima voiced his strong discomfort that at the US-Japan Security Consultative Committee (2+2), the governments of Japan and the United States have decided to go ahead with building a V-shaped runway at Henoko, Nago City as a replacement facility of the United Stares Marine Corps Futenma Air Station. He said, “It’s incomprehensible. What are they doing trying to implement something that’s just not possible?” and continued, “On repeated occasions, I have told both governments that this is an absurd way of doing things. However many decisions they may make on this, how are they going to do it?”

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“2+2” – a black mark on history that undermines democracy

June 22, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

On June 21, in Washington, for the first time in four years, the governments of Japan and the United States held the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee (2+2) at which they reconfirmed that they are to push ahead with the plan for the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station to Henoko, Nago City. They have decided to use a landfill approach and build a V-shaped alternative facility with two runways on area offshore.
There is no way that we can accept this. It is against the will of the Okinawan people who have called for the facilities and functions now at Futenma to be moved outside the prefecture. Both governments deliberately ignore the will of the people of Okinawa.

Despite the political situation within Okinawa on the Futenma relocation issue and the perception within the United States Congress having greatly changed, the content of the agreement seems to have slipped backwards to match that of four years ago.
It is the first time for a U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee meeting to be held since the Democratic Party came to power, but they have clearly disregarded the wishes of the Okinawan people in making the decision to push ahead with the relocation to Henoko. This is a far cry from democracy – indeed it is an abuse of power by both governments.

To us, the joint statement issued with the subtitle: “Toward a Deeper and Broader U.S.-Japan Alliance: Building on 50 Years of Partnership” rings hollow like a work of fiction. The agreement [on the Futenma relocation issue] not only runs contrary to the idea of reducing the burden placed on the people of Okinawa by military bases, and as such serves to degrade the U.S.-Japan alliance, but the way it undermines the basic tenets of democracy will also likely see it remembered as a black mark in history.

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(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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