Rift between Okinawa and Tokyo-Washington DC further expanded by Japan-U.S. defense ministers’ meeting

Rift between Okinawa and Tokyo-Washington DC further expanded by Japan-U.S. defense ministers' meeting

Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine responding to questions from reporters on October 25, in Nago City Hall.

October 26, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

Nago Mayor says, “The evaluation report has no meaning”

With regard to the defense ministers’ meeting of Yasuo Ichikawa and Leon E. Panetta, in which the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station to Henoko in Nago City and the environmental impact statement to be submitted later in the year was agreed upon, Nago City Mayor Susumu Inamine held a press conference on October 25, in which he indicated his strong discomfort, saying, “The current environment in Okinawa will not allow this [both governments’ policy on the Futenma relocation to Henoko.]”

Mayor Inamine said, “There is no way that both governments can implement the Japan-U.S. agreement by just ignoring local residents’ opposition to it.” He went on to criticize both governments, saying, “There is no consensus among the people of Okinawa Prefecture to accept the relocation plan. Does the government intend to use force to make it happen?”

“Many issues have already been pointed out about the document that defines the scope of the environmental impact assessment and its preparatory documents. I wonder about what sort of evaluation report will be produced here?” he said skeptically, adding a warning that, “A report issued in this manner by the government will be given no credence, and will have no meaning.”

Ginowan City Official says, “We want the governments to understand the reality of the situation around the Futenma Air Station”

Shigeo Yamauchi, the director of the Base Policy Division for Ginowan City said, “The majority of Okinawan people oppose the Henoko relocation plan so it is impossible to carry it out. Both governments should strive to understand the realities surrounding the Futenma issue and should amend their agreement and look for somewhere overseas as the place for relocation.” With regard to the current situation in the prefecture, he said, “If the government is too heavy-handed with the Okinawan people on this issue it will trigger an even stronger reaction among local residents. We are concerned that the way things are going the base at Futenma will end up staying where it is. I want both the Japanese and United States governments to come to grips with the reality of the situation surrounding Futenma.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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