Governor Nakaima pushes prime minister for railway system

Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima had a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Monday, after the ceremonies at the Peace Memorial Park, in which he called for the central government’s support for steps to further promote regional development.

Specifically, Nakaima pressed the need to construct a railway system on the island to help move the increasing number of visitors to the prefecture between the airport and resorts along the coast. He also urged the government to devise steps to simplify immigration procedures to help attract more foreign tourists to the prefecture.

Ichita Yamamoto, the minister in charge of Okinawa issues was also present at the meeting.

Nakaima later told reporters that the central and prefectural governments will hold a meeting of their joint panel on the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma air base in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Since the end of last year, Nakaima has demanded that the operations at MCAS Futenma be ended within five years, but he has gotten rather cool response to his proposal, especially from the U.S. side that says ceasing the operations before the replacement facility is completed would be “very difficult.”

Nakaima has also demanded changes to implementation of the current SOFA agreement.