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Futenma relocation sites baffle local leadership

Date Posted: 2010-04-01

Yasuhide Miyagi and his Futenma Air Station Transfer Promotion Committee were responsible for Henoko’s selection as a relocation site, but now they’re angry the way Japan’s central government is twisting things around.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s government has rejected the agreement made between the U.S. and Japan in 2006 that would have relocated the controversial Futenma Marine Corps Air Station from densely populated Ginowan City to sparsely populated northern Okinawa. Miyagi and his committee worked that project, agreeing and approving the plan to move Futenma.

Now, with the central government coming up with new proposals to relocate the airfield inside the boundaries of Camp Schwab in northern Okinawa, or on reclaimed land near White Beach and the Katsuren Peninsula, Miyagi’s annoyed. “Is the new government meaning that Futenma Air Station’s dangerous situation is all right with Henoko people?” he asks, referring to the idea that runways could be constructed on land rather than on reclaimed land in Oura Bay. And then he wants to know why reclaiming land at “Henoko’s island is no good, but outside White Beach is all right?”

Miyagi doesn’t think much of the government’s latest ideas. “This plan is really stupid. It is very confusing to people,” he says, noting “we took down our signboard that said “Futenma Air Station Transfer Promotion Committee.” Why did his group take it down? “Because it looked like we’re pushing the opinion of the Camp Schwab inside plan, and no, we don’t agree with this option at all.”

The committee leader says “we approved bringing Futenma Air Station here with local people, and we believe that to bring Futenma Air Station to Henoko as agreed would create activity and life for all Henoko people.” Miyagi says, “We are still going to work another way, and not put up the same signboard. We’ll use different words.”

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