Relocation of Futenma Air Station:U.S. Defense Secretary urges Japan to move as soon as possible on application procedures for the Henoko landfill

Relocation of Futenma Air Station:U.S. Defense Secretary urges Japan to move as soon as possible on application procedures for the Henoko landfill

U.S. Defense Secretary Panetta (right) shaking hands with Defense Minister Ichikawa at their meeting at the Office for Ministry of Defense, in the afternoon of October 25. (Provided by the news photographer for the pool-coverage)


October 26, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo
On October 25, one after another, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba and Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa met with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta in Tokyo. They explained to him that the Japanese government will submit to Okinawa Prefectural Government the evaluation report of the environmental impact assessment of the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station to Henoko in Nago City, and agreed that it is important for Japan and United States to move forward with the relocation of Futenma Air Station as soon as possible.

With regard to the procedure from this point on, including the application to obtain approval from the Okinawa Prefectural Governor for the landfill needed for the Henoko relocation, in the joint press conference Secretary Panetta said it should be done “as soon as possible,” and he urged Japan to move ahead with the necessary procedures for the landfill.

In his joint press conference after meeting with Defense Minister Ichikawa, with regard to the Japanese government’s intention to submit the environmental impact statement later this year, Secretary Panetta said, “I was very pleased with the comments of the minister as well as the prime minister and the foreign minister as well, all of whom confirmed that they were working to be able to present their environmental impact statement before the end of this year.”

At the same time, he emphasized that his government will make efforts to move forward with the relocation of about 8000 U.S. Marines who are currently in Okinawa to Guam, something that is integrated with the relocation plan of the facilities and personnel at Futenma.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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