Abe-Obama meeting irks Governor Onaga
After learning about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s remarks on the Henoko relocation plan at his meeting with the U.S. President Batack Obama, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga issued a statement saying the prime minister’s statement was counter-productive to the amicable solution to the Henoko dispute currently under discussion between the prefecture and the central government in Tokyo.
“It is regrettable that Abe told Obama that the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma base from Ginowan to off the coast of Henoko is the only solution,” Onaga said in his statement.
According to press reports, Abe explained that the Japanese central government had reached an agreement with the Okinawa prefectural government in early March to settle their court battle over the base relocation issue. Abe met Obama in Washington on the sidelines of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit on Thursday.
According to the court-mediated settlement, the two sides are to hold discussions to find an amicable solution to the dispute. In the meeting, Abe told Obama that the central government decided go along with the settlement in order to expedite the project.
Onaga said that Abe’s remarks disrespect the spirit of the amicable settlement, and is an indication that the central government is not willing to budge from its position. He also noted that Abe failed to mention the plan to halt operations at MCAS Futenma within five years from 2014.