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More Hurdles for MCAS Futenma Relocation

Date Posted: 2001-04-14

Nago City Assembly stated Thursday that accepting the relocation of the MCAS Futenma to a new site in Nago City’s Henoko district has become more difficult.

The statement was made in response to an answer by the director of Naha Defense Facilities Administration Bureau, to and inquiry that the assembly members had sent to the agency earlier. The Nago City Assembly sent the agency a question about maneuvers by U.S. FA-18 Hornet fighters that had taken place over central Nago earlier. In his response, the director of the Defense Facilities Administration Bureau stated that it is possible for the U.S. Forces to conduct flight maneuvers not only within restricted areas but also in other airspace over Okinawa. City Assembly Chairman Mikio Yabe said, “The national government made an agreement concerning noise and flight routes. But now I understand that the government is taking this agreement in a completely opposite way. This makes it difficult to continue the relocating procedures, and the whole thing has to be restarted.”

The director of the Facility Department at the Naha DFAB visited the Prefecture Offices and Nago City Assembly chairman Friday and explained that his bureau’s statement had been misunderstood. After recognizing the mistake, he also explained that any activities of the U.S. Forces in Japan are subject to domestic laws of Japan, and also have to take into consideration public safety. Prefecture officials said that they will continue to pressure to make it illegal to conduct flight maneuvers over other than designated areas, by changing the Status of Forces Agreement.

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