Okinawa starts new talks with central government
When the talks between Okinawa Prefecture and the central government on the dispute over building the replacement facility in Henoko for MCAS Futenma collapsed last September, both sides agreed to set up a new council to continue the dialogue.
The first meeting of the council was convened in Tokyo, Thursday, with representatives of both governments sitting down to discuss ways to find common ground to the Henoko dispute through the resumption of a dialogue.
From Okinawa, Governor Takeshi Onaga and Vice Governor Mitsuo Ageda took part at the meeting that took place at the prime minister’s office. Four cabinet members, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani and Aiko Shimajiri, the minister in charge of Okinawa affairs who is from Okinawa represented the Japanese government.
Although the parties also discussed about other matters pertaining to various Okinawa-related development projects including the construction of the second runway at Naha Airport, the main challenge at the talks was the Henoko issue. Referring to the dispute, Onaga reportedly stated, “I hope the state will have sympathy for the feelings of Okinawan people through understanding of history.” However, the government in Tokyo was also sticking steadfast to its point of view that Henoko is the only alternative, and intends to push ahead with the relocation as planned.