Okinawa Governor denies a Japan-U.S. deal on U.S. military realignment package
September 21, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo
In the afternoon of September 19, at George Washington University in Washington DC, Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima delivered a lecture on the Futenma relocation issue.
During the question and answer period after his lecture, when he was asked about a Japan-U.S. deal on the realignment package linking the U.S. Marine Forces Transfer Plan from Okinawa to Guam and the return of six military facilities located south of the U.S. Kadena Air Force Base with the relocation of the base at Futenma, Nakaima said, “There is no logic to that. The United States should return such facilities soon as they are no longer necessary.”
This is the first time that Nakaima has been to the United States to reject a Japan-U.S. deal on the U.S. military realignment package.
In May 2010, both the U.S. and Japanese governments confirmed that they would implement the road map for U.S. military realignment in Japan that links the relocation of the Futenma base with the return to Japan of military facilities located south of the U.S. Kadena Air Force Base.
While Okinawa Prefecture seeks the swift return of military-occupied land without any link to the package, the position of both governments is to persist with its implementation.
Former Japanese defense minister Toshimi Kitazawa said, “The American side insists that the road map for the realignment of U.S. military forces in Japan should be implemented in its current form.”
Nakaima explained that about 74% of U.S. military facilities in Japan are concentrated in Okinawa, and likened that to “having such military facilities right in the center of New York City.” He talked about the dangerous nature of the Futenma Air Station, and from there said, “There is no need to link the relocation of the Futenma Air Station and the return of other U.S. military bases. The two governments should stop doing deals and return the bases promptly.”
Nakaima insisted that both parties should move towards the early return of U.S. military facilities and not link that to the current Futenma relocation plan that has become deadlocked.
(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey）
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