Okinawa Governor Nakaima renounces Osprey operation from Futenma Air Station

February 8, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

In his regular press conference held in the afternoon of February 8, Okinawan Governor Hirokazu Nakaima referred to the incident in which a water bottle dropped from an MV-22 Osprey aircraft after it took off from U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station. Nakaima said, “It is absolutely unacceptable that items of cargo fall from aircraft.” He went on to say, “It really is impossible to operate the Osprey from Futenma Air Station when this base is located right in the middle of an urban area. I want the U.S. and Japanese governments to relocate the base outside the prefecture as soon as possible, and to do their utmost to prevent this kind of incident from happening again.” One year has passed since the U.S. and Japanese governments agreed to separate the return of six U.S. military facilities south of Kadena Air Base from the package deal covering the Futenma relocation and the transfer of the Marines outside of Okinawa, but the governments still cannot create an integrated plan to achieve this. Nakaima stated that he will demand that the central government speed up working on the issue, saying, “The previous administration led by the Democratic Party of Japan stated that they would provide us with a specific integration plan at the end of last year. I had expected that the situation would improve despite the administration having changed. I am really disappointed that the central government repeatedly fails to resolve the U.S. base issues in Okinawa despite giving us assertions that it is doing its best.”

With regard to the report that a Chinese naval frigate locked its fire-control radar onto a Japanese ship near the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, Nakaima said, “We strongly demand that the Japanese and Chinese governments resolve the dispute through peaceful diplomacy, and that they both do their best to exercise self-control so as not to allow the situation to become explosive.”

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