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Okinawa Governor says he’ll talk Futenma, but wants it moved out

Date Posted: 2010-10-28

Okinawa’s governor is sounding very much like a politician in a heated reelection campaign, talking tough about wanting Futenma Marine Corps Air Station moved from Okinawa, but at the same time saying “I intend to have frank talks with government officials so we can build relationships of trust.”

Hirokazu Nakaima is in a political campaign, running for reelection as Prefecture Governor November 28th against the former mayor of Ginowan City, Yoichi Iha. Iha’s long been opposed to Futenma – which is located in downtown Ginowan City — staying in either his city or in the Prefecture, while Nakaima’s modified his position somewhat over the past year. Nakaima, backed by the Liberal Democratic Party, began feeling the heat over his Futenma positions more than a year ago when the Democratic Party of Japan scored major victories in the House of Representatives, rousting the LDP from power.

“There are many difficult problems,” Nakaima says, “but I’ll set a course for proceeding with the Futenma relocation during my second term and boost Okinawa’s regional development.” The 71-year-old Nakaima says he wants to have intense consultation with Tokyo, but confesses “it will be difficult” to go along with Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s plan for keeping the controversial airbase in Okinawa. Kan’s committed to moving the base to the Henoko district of Nago City, a move Nakaima panned, saying “people in other parts of the country felt it was good to return to the original plan, but Okinawans felt differently.”

Nakaima says he’s ready to call for a government review of the entire Japan-U.S. agreement, and to ask for the base to be relocated outside Okinawa Prefecture. The governor says both ruling and opposition camps on Okinawa oppose the Henoko relocation.

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