Okinawa wants new deadline for halting Futenma operations
A three-party meeting on discussing measures to reduce Okinawa’s burden of hosting U.S. bases attended by representatives of the central government, Okinawa Prefecture and Ginowan City was held in Naha on September 4.
The main topic was the passing of the deadline to halt the operations at the MCAS Futenma. The deadline agreed between the central government and former Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima was within five years from February 2014, which passed in February this year. The local side requested a new schedule for the halt of operations, but the central government said it is difficult to set a new deadline given the on-going fight in courts over the relocation and the unexpected discovery of soft soil in the landfill area off the coast that is causing an unexpected delay in the construction.
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita from the state, as well as Kiichiro Jahana, vice governor of Okinawa, and Keigo Wada, deputy mayor of Ginowan attended the meeting.
After the meeting, Vice Governor Jahana said that stopping the operations at Futenma must take place as soon as possible, regardless of conditions for the relocation. Ginowan Deputy Mayor Wada added, “We need the have a clear date for the handover of the Futenma base, so we can start making plans for utilizing the land after the return.”