Futenma-to-Henoko move ‘on track’

Senior leaders of the United States and Japan have reaffirmed decision to press ahead with the project that will result in closure of the largely unpopular Futenma Marine Corps Air Station located in downtown Ginowan City.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have agreed that the two countries will continue with the current plan to transfer the base to the Henoko district of Nago City, with the base itself being constructed on the present Camp Schwab, a Marines base.   The talks in Washington followed an approval by Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima last December for the reclamation of land in Nago’s Henoko coastal area to build the alternative facility for Futenma, located in a congested area of Ginowan.

Last year, the plan to relocate the Futenma station made significant progress, Kishida said as he reported the land reclamation approval to Hagel.    Kishida underscored that Japan will duly implement the process to transfer the base to the Henoko area with resolve.  In return, Hagel expressed gratitude for the Japanese government’s efforts on the issue.

Prior to the meeting, Kishida met with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Kishida told Rice that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been promoting his policy of “active pacifism.” Rice gave high marks to Abe’s government for its active national security policies.    She also expressed hopes that Japan and South Korea improve their relations.