Iwakuni says ‘yes’ to Futenma-based tankers

Another piece in the complex puzzle of what to do with Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in Ginowan City was put into place this week as Iwakuni’s mayor agreed to accept a plan to relocate refueling aircraft now based at Futenma.

Mayor Yoshihiko Fukuda told his city assembly he thinks the plan is a good one, and says he’ll notify the central government of his acceptance of the plan following discussions with the Yamaguchi Prefecture government.   The mayor has in the past insisted that he cannot accept the relocation of refueling aircraft before it becomes clear that the planned transfer of the controversial Futenma base was clarified.

He changed his position, however, after a central government request.    Meeting with city assembly members, Fukuda urged the Japanese government to make every effort to win the understanding of Okinawa residents for the U.S. base transfer plan.    The Japanese and U.S. governments have agreed to move all 15 refueling aircraft stationed at the Futenma base to the Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station between June and September 2014.