Okinawa Governor to establish a new division to study Japan-U.S. security issues

December 13, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

On December 12, Governor Hirokazu Nakaima announced that next April the Okinawa Prefectural Office (OPG) will establish a division to conduct research and gather information about Japan-U.S. security issues.
This is aimed at lending substance to his policy pledge of seeking the relocation of Futenma Air Station out of Okinawa Prefecture.
OPG is now making arrangements for outside organizations to gather information in the United States from next April.

According to the OPG, the new division will be operated under the aegis of the Executive Office of the Governor and will be separate to the Military Base Affairs Division and the Reversion Affairs Division, which currently deal with U.S. military issues in the Prefectural Office. The new division is expected to have somewhere between two to ten staff.
Next April, Governor Nakaima is also scheduled to officially launch a research institute that focuses on the full range of Japan-U.S. security issues, and the new division will be related to this institute.

The Ministry of Defense claims that the U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa serve as a deterrent against regional conflict, but the new division will research the validity of this claim and conduct studies and gather information on the purpose of U.S. military bases in Okinawa.

On September 19 this year, Nakaima attended an international symposium in Washington D.C. in which key figures from the United States and Japan discussed the issue of U.S. military bases in Okinawa and U.S.-Japan security policy. This was the first time that the governor has been to the United States to demand the relocation of Futenma Air Station to somewhere outside the prefecture.
The establishment of this new division is aimed at providing support on a theoretical level for efforts to fulfill the governor’s pledge to have Futenma moved.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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