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Ozawa, Defense Minister disagree on moving Futenma to Shimoji

Date Posted: 2010-01-07

The Chief Secretary of the Democratic Party of Japan thinks it could be a good idea to “transfer the Futenma Air Station to Miyakojima City’s unused airport on Shimoji Island.” Japan’s Defense Minister doesn’t “think it’s a good idea”.

Ichiro Ozawa has been talking the idea of using the vacant airport at Miyako as a solution to the Futenma controversy, noting “that airport is not used now, so it would be a good place to move to, and it is in Okinawa.” His most recently bounced the idea off the chief secretaries of the Social Democratic Party and People’s New Party at a Tokyo restaurant meeting.

The idea didn’t fare well, with the Social Democratic Party saying “we don’t think it’s a good idea; we think Guam is still the good place for the transfer.” People’s New Party leader Mikio Shimoji, a Miyakojima native, says “we don’t agree, because or idea is spreading American military bases to all of Japan, not only in Okinawa.” Shimoji says he doesn’t agree with the Shimoji Airport idea, “even though it is in Okinawa. We have other plans, too, but they’re not yet clear.”

Toshimi Kitazawa, the Defense Minister, says he doesn’t “think it’s a good idea, because of the location, the geographical position will make it very difficult to go there.” Even the opposition Liberal Democratic Party leader Shigeru Ishiba questions if “Mr. Ozawa has studied thoroughly about Shimoji Island airport and Futenma Air Station problems?” He notes “we have discussed this transfer problem for a very long time, and the Okinawa Prefecture Assembly made a resolution in the past that Shimoji Airport must never be used for military purposes. It’s already decided, so how can Mr. Ozawa say ‘let’s move the Futenma Air Station to Shimoji Airport?’”.

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