Regarding the Futenma relocation, Okinawa Governor tells the Foreign Minister and Defense Minister that “Seeking a place outside the prefecture will be a quicker solution”

Regarding the Futenma relocation, Okinawa Governor tells the Foreign Minister and Defense Minister that “Seeking a place outside the prefecture will be a quicker solution”

At the Defense Ministry Office, on September 9, Yasuo Ichikawa, Defense Minister (left) tells Okinawa Prefectural Governor Hirokazu Nakaima (right) that he plans to visit Okinawa soon.


September 10, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo
On September 9, Okinawa Prefectural Governor Hirokazu Nakaima visited Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba and Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa. On the topic of the Futenma relocation of the United States Marine Corps Air Station, the Governor said, “Seeking a place outside the prefecture will be a quicker solution.” He requested that both ministers review the agreement between the United States and Japan in which the replacement facilities for Futenma Air Station are set to be constructed at Henoko, Nago City. According to the Governor, neither minister has given a specific reply to his request.

With regard to the multiple-entry visa for Chinese tourists and the Sixth Japan-Pacific Islands Forum Summit Meeting to be held in Okinawa, the Foreign Minister indicated his commitment to Okinawa by saying, “I have only just assumed the post, but I have directed Ministry officials to do what we can [for the Okinawa promotion].” The Governor asked the Minister for an explanation of progress made to reduce the burden on Okinawa, such as the revision of the Status of Forces Agreement that governs the legal status of U.S. troops and the return of water areas used for training by the U.S. military. The Foreign Minister went no further than saying, “I will approach these issues with the utmost sincerity.”

At the press conference on the same day, the Foreign Minister said, “I understand the Governor’s standpoint, but I will move forward on the Futenma relocation plan in keeping with the Japan-U.S. agreement,” indicating that he does not intend that the base will be relocated to outside the prefecture. With regard to the request from the Mayor of Ginowan City for evacuation measures for the residents of Ginowan City in which they are allowed to move into the U.S. military facilities in the case of disaster, Genba demonstrated a positive approach, saying, “I will approach this issue with the utmost sincerity.”
After meeting with the Governor, in his press conference Ichikawa said, “I would like to let him know that I will actively work to resolve the pending issue [Futenma relocation issue]”showing his intention to move ahead in keeping with the Japan-U.S. agreement.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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