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Bureaucrats excluded from all Futenma talks

Date Posted: 2010-03-25

The very notion that bureaucrats’ views aren’t being sought in the Futenma relocation issue is stinging, but that’s exactly what Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is doing.

He’s excluding government bureaucrats from being involved in bilateral talks over where to relocate Futenma, choosing instead to rely on settling the matter based on political initiative. He’s excluded Foreign Ministry diplomats, including those at the Japanese Embassy in Washington.

As Prime Minister Hatoyama hopes to make a decision by the end of March, he’s relying on his Chief Cabinet Secretary, Hirofumi Hirano, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Koichi Takemasa, and Senior Vice Defense Minister Kazuya Shimba as his consultants. Takemasa and Shimba, both lawmakers, were appointed to the Foreign and Defense Ministries by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan. They’re dealing the potential relocation sites with working level experts from the Defense Ministry.

Ultimately, the Foreign Ministry, Katsuya Okada, and Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa will handle the negotiations with their American counterparts.

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