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GOV leaves Henoko runway shape still undecided

Date Posted: 2011-01-14

Despite an agreement made by the United States and Japan in 2006 that a newly constructed airfield in northern Okinawa would have a pair of V-shape runways extending into Oura Bay, the Japanese government has now backed off, saying it has yet to draw a conclusion on runway configurations for a replacement facility for the U.S. Marine Corps\' Futenma air station in Okinawa Prefecture.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says Japan and the United States will discuss whether to construct V-shaped runways or an I-shaped one. Edano spoke at a news conference after a newspaper report said they are tilting in favor of the V-shaped ones.

The most important thing is to listen to opinions of Okinawa people, the top government spokesman said. He said the government is not in a stage to give a clear answer on its decision on the matter.

The two countries have agreed to build the replacement facility in the coastal area of Nago also in Okinawa, a plan opposed by the southernmost prefecture as well as Nago City. The original plan envisioned a V-shaped facility allowing aircraft to use different runways for takeoffs and landings to avoid flying over residential areas. The ruling Democratic Party of Japan has been in favor of an alternative I-shaped single runway, which requires less reclaimed land, out of environmental and financial concerns.

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