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USFJ Chief says plans still remain to move to Henoko

Date Posted: 2012-03-23

Plans to move Futenma Marine Corps Air Station to Henoko in northern Okinawa “remain valid”, says the commander of United States Forces in Japan, Lt. Gen. Burton Field.

Despite opposition by many Okinawans to maintaining the controversial Marine airbase on Okinawa, Fields says “We agreed to develop a replacement for Futenma, and that is indeed up in the Henoko area of Camp Schwab. That is still our agreement, that is still the position of both the U.S. and central government of Japan, that that’s the best solution for the issue of Futenma.” The three-star American general told the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan that airfields are normally built away from populated areas because of aircraft noise, but noted that as cities grow, populations around bases grow, and that’s what causes “friction” between the residents and the military.

“This happens in every country around the world, and I am not minimizing the Futenma issue,” Field said, “I am just saying this is the kind of things that happened and it happened down in Okinawa.”

Field, who’s been commander of U.S. Forces Japan since October 2010, headed the Operation Tomodachi relief operation following the disastrous Tohoku earthquake last March 11th.

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