Okinawa Governor says moving Futenma Air Station to Henoko is impossible

Okinawa Governor says moving Futenma Air Station to Henoko is impossible

Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima (left) talked to Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida (from right) and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera at ANA Crowne Plaza Okinawa Harborview in Naha in the afternoon of October 8.


Ocotber 9, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima met Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera in Naha in the afternoon of October 8.

Nakaima said, “I cannot understand why the U.S. and Japanese governments claim that the plan to move U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the Henoko district in Nago is the only possible solution.”

Criticizing the agreement reached on October 3 by both governments in the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee, otherwise known as the “two-plus-two” security meeting, Nakaima said that moving the facilities currently at Futenma Air Station within Okinawa is impossible. He suggested, “Moving the base outside the prefecture is a quicker solution, both in terms of feasibility and time involved to carry it out.”

The policies decided in the meeting to reduce the burden of bases on Okinawa and the U.S. government changing the way to implement the Japan-U.S. Status-of-Forces Agreement on notifying the Japanese government about prosecuting military personnel who commit crimes, met with a relatively favorable response.

After the meeting, Nakaima talked to the press about whether or not he will approve the application documents to reclaim land off Henoko in Nago. He said, “I cannot make the final decision until I read the opinion of the Nago mayor. He will give that at the end of November.”

Onodera said, “The Japanese government intends to negotiate with the U.S. government on the transfer of MV-22 Osprey training outside Okinawa and Japan.” Nakaima replied,”Okinawan people are still concerned about the safety of the Osprey.” While the U.S. government has decided to cancel the restriction on using the water around the so-called “Area Hotel-Hotel” airspace and waters designated as a training area, it also has decided to allow Okinawan people to carry out surveys of the land the military plans to return. Nakaima said, “I want the U.S. and Japanese governments to came forward with specific plans and then carry them out.”

After the meeting, Onodera said, “The atmosphere in the meeting was not bad at all. I want work hard to reduce the burden of bases on Okinawa and to get the governor to approve the land reclamation application so the base can be built.” Kishida said, “We want to politely move forward in our discussion.”

Nakaima had dinner with Kishida in Naha in the evening of October 8. After that, he talked to the press, saying, “We did not discuss the plan to move the base to Henoko.”

Kishida and Onodera met Lieutenant General John Wissler, Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Force Okinawa Area Coordinator and the leaders of the Okinawa business community to explain the policies designed to reduce the burden of bases.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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