Out of consideration of a backlash from Okinawa the government has not budgeted for the Futenma relocation plan for the next fiscal year

December 15, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

With regard to the relocation plan of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko in the Nago district, it was revealed on December 14 that the government has decided to defer the inclusion of basic design and construction costs originally scheduled for the budget for fiscal 2012. Some experts speculated that the government did this due to the growing opposition to the relocation of the Futenma Air Station within Okinawa, and the fact that the implementation of the project was still nowhere in sight. If it can secure the agreement with the Okinawan side on the relocation the government will cover costs by temporarily dipping into its reserve fund.

To push ahead with the construction of alternative facilities for the Futenma Air Station at Henoko, Nago, which was reconfirmed by both governments this June at the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee (2+2), the Japanese government was considering including the cost for the basic design in the budget for fiscal 2012.

However, the government decided against this because the Ministry of Defense feared an aggravation of the situation within Okinawa where people are opposed to the submission of the Environmental Impact Statement, and because the former Okinawa Defense Director’s recent injudicious remark invited a strong backlash.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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