Okinawa governor suggests that, “If the Osprey aircraft are safe they should be deployed at bases all over Japan”

October 12, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

Stating that the idea is “unrealistic,” Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto is reported to have rejected the Okinawa Prefectural government’s request for the deployment of the Osprey aircraft to bases throughout the nation. At his press conference on October 12, Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima voiced his strong discontent with Morimoto’s remark. Nakaima commented, “What sort of response is that? If the Osprey is supposed to be so safe, I want to suggest that all the regions of Japan should bear their fair share in the country’s defense needs. Spreading these aircraft to bases across the nation is a reasonable approach to achieve this.”

When a reporter asked the governor if the commitment is long-term would he accept the suggestion by the government that it moves the Osprey training to the main islands, Nakaima replied, “It depends on the nature of the training.” He added, “There are many things that the U.S. Marine Corps does for training. To the greatest extent possible, I want the government to transfer the training to other areas of the country, and not to allow the U.S. Marines to concentrate their training on Okinawa.” The governor also pointed out that, “If the government conducts a full review of the deployment, including the training options, they will come to the conclusion that they do not need to base the Osprey in Okinawa.

On October 24, the governor will visit Washington DC to ask the U.S. government to resolve the issue of military bases in Okinawa, including the matter of Osprey deployment. The governor said, “We have to confirm who will be the appropriate U.S. government officials to approach on the base issue. We imagine that the U.S. government will reshuffle its high ranking officials after the presidential election.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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