: Classifieds : MyJU :
Stories: News
Browse News Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

New government to press forward with Futenma move

Date Posted: 2011-09-09

The name plates on the Prime Minister’s door have changed, but controversial plans to relocate Futenma Marine Corps Air Station from central to northern Okinawa appear to have changed not one iota.

The Japanese government is in the process of preparing a new environmental impact assessment on the plan, which would move Futenma to the Henoko district of Nago City in northern Okinawa. The new Vice Defense Minister has met with Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima to brief him that the report will be arriving at Naha, possibly by the end of the year.

Nago’s mayor, Susumu Inamine, says it isn’t going to happen. “Relocation in Okinawa is totally unfeasible,” he replied when learning of the Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government plan. “I am not in a position to accept the base’s relocation within the prefecture,” Inamine added, calling the notion unreasonable. Governor Hirokazu Nakaima responded sharply as well, opposing even the thinking of continuing with plans to keep Futenma within the prefecture. Nakaima’s been lobbying to have the base moved outside Okinawa, and his meeting with Kimito Nakae, the Vice Defense Minister, wasn’t one where the governor changed his stance.

The new Japanese Foreign Minister has weighed in on the issue, too, calling for ruling and opposition parties to resolve the unpopular issue. “We have no choice but to do our best”, Koichiro Genba told an interviewer, noting the Democratic Party of Japan’s now on its third prime minister since taking office in 2009. The Futenma issue first brought down Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s administration after he promised to rid Okinawa of Futenma, then backed down. Prime Minister Naoto Kan continued to support the Futenma relocation, but became mired down in the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster that decimated the economy. Now, Noda is supporting the Futenma move.

The Foreign Minister wants to settle the Futenma move, and wants the new Prime Minister to visit the United States, where the subject would likely receive high visibility. Earlier this year, the two governments formally agreed to establish a pair of V-shape runways at the Henoko base, which would be created in the coming several years. Okinawa’s governor has 90 days to offer his opinion after receiving the environment assessment. Once that’s done, the central government is expected to press the governor to approve plans for land reclamation in Oura Bay, where the runways would be built.

Meanwhile, the new Japanese cabinet and government are proposing establishment of a ministerial cabinet to deal with the Futenma relocation plan. Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura says the council would manage the division of roles on Futenma, and coordinate between Governor Nakaima’s prefectural administration and that of the Prime Minister. Foreign Minister Genba says he agrees, noting it makes no difference whether the new council is official or unofficial.

Defense Minister says he wants to see the new cabinet coordinate closely on Futenma and other Okinawa base issues. He’s pledged to react positively if there’s a specific request submitted for action.

Browse News Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

weather currency health and beauty restaurants Yellowpages JU Blog

JU FacebookOkistyleOkistyle

Go to advertising PDF?||?|o?L?qAE?|?}?OA?N?ga`OkiStyle?A??q?qM?oeu^?I`??N?gX?<eth>?<ETH>?ni^?IWanted!!Golden Kings ScheduleOkiNightSeeker