Governor stresses that his stance demanding the relocation of Futenma Air Station outside of Okinawa will not change

Governor stresses that his stance demanding the relocation of Futenma Air Station outside of Okinawa will not change

On December 26, Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima was interviewed by the news media on current affairs at the Okinawa Prefectural Government Office.

December 27, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

While new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicated that he will proceed with the plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko in Nago, Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima reiterated that he would seek the alternative facility for Futenma outside of Okinawa. On December 26, at the press conference looking ahead to the New Year, the governor said, “The Noda administration had the same policy [to move the Futenma base to Henoko], but there is no change in my commitment.”

In addition, he questioned the feasibility of the current plan, stating, “Many people, including the mayors of 41 municipalities and all the members of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly, are opposed to this, so the Henoko relocation plan will not go smoothly even if the government does actually start construction. I wonder if the government has really considered how feasible the plan is. Do they think that if they decide upon something, that it will just fall into place?”

With regard to the Senkaku Islands dispute between China and Japan, the governor pointed out that “It is a problem that will continue to cause tension. They get too emotional.” He commented, “[The government] should handle this issue considering the big-picture. I hope that the problem will be settled soon.”
Nakaima gave a negative response to the question about his possible candidacy for a third term as the governor, saying, “I am not a superman like former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara.” Eighty year-old Ishihara has returned to the House of Representatives.

The governor was critical of the fact that MV-22 Osprey aircraft have flown over residential areas in conversion-mode and have strayed off their designated flight path. The U.S. Marine Corps is planning to deploy an additional 12 Osprey aircraft to Futenma next year. Nakaima also demanded the cancellation of the deployment plan, saying, “Osprey aircraft can fly a long distance, so there is no reason for them to be deployed in Okinawa.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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