Okinawa’s governor calls for base return changes

Okinawa’s governor is calling up Japan and the United States to modify the agreement made for return of U.S. military bases, facilities and land used on his island.

Governor Hirokazu Nakaima says “even if we are told that we should implement it because it has been decided between the governments, it would be hard to do so for something that has been decided without local involvement.”  Nakaima’s come in response to the April 5th agreement that land south of Kadena Air Base should be returned between this fiscal year and 2028 or later.

Some municipalities in Okinawa are already raising hefty concerns about the deal, leaves them bearing the burden of additional sites that will replace those being returned.  The agreement sets a schedule for returning land now used by the U.S. Marines at Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in “fiscal 2022 or later.”

Replacing Futenma with a new facility at Camp Schwab in Henoko, a district of Nago City, has been a contentious issue between the central government and Okinawa.  Nakaima emphasized again his opposition to that plan for moving Futenma has not gone away.