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Bush Won’t Agree to 15 Year Limit on Futenma Relocation

Date Posted: 2001-03-23

In his first meeting with Prime minister Mori on Monday morning at the White House, President Bush refused to be drawn on the issue of the 15 year time limit Okinawa Prefecture is demanding for the relocated Futenma air station. It was the first time the Bush administration has referred to the issue of the time limit.

Bush said “It is very difficult issue. We have to think about it with its influence on the international situation. The presence of the US military is important”

The Japanese government wants to begin work on the substitute facility in Nago by this summer. But the timetable is in doubt in view of the 15 year limit that Okinawa’s governor and the mayor of Nago want to see imposed.

Mori told Bush “there have been quite a few incidents caused by certain people in Okinawa. You need to take seriously the feeling of people in Okinawa.” Mori demanded that Bush continue discussions on the composition of the US military.

Okinawa Governor Keiichi Inamine’s said of the encounter “even though the issue of US bases in Okinawa was taken up at this meeting, sadly I can not see any concrete progress on any issue. We are asking our government to solve issues such as decreasing the US military presence, including the marines and for a 15 year time limit on the substitute facility for Futenma. We hope our government will talk positively about these issues with US government so that we can decrease our share of the U.S. bases burden.”

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