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Japan resisting U.S. demands for major Futenma repairs

Date Posted: 2012-03-23

With Futenma Marine Corps Air Station not moving from Ginowan City anytime soon, the United States has demanded that major repairs on the base be included in an upcoming report, but Japan’s balking at the request.

The interim operational report is due by the end of April, and the U.S. has insisted the repairs are critical, but opposition to the base by Okinawans has Tokyo officials resisting endorsing the plan, at least for now. The two nations are to meet later this month to discuss the matter again.

Japanese officials are now asking America to separate the Futenma repairs issue from the realignment document now being worked. Officials say they’re afraid Tokyo’s endorsement of the repairs could lead to Futenma’s remaining in Ginowan. The U.S. says the repairs must be included in order for the American Congress to appropriate funds for continued operations until Futenma is ultimately moved to Camp Schwab in the Nago City Henoko district.

Adding to Japan’s frustration, the United States is now demanding that Japan pick up the costs for the Futenma repairs. An American military source says the needed repairs are extensive, and will cost “tens of billions of yen and take a very long time to accomplish.”

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