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Return of Yokota a 'bluff', new Tokyo Gov. says

Date Posted: 1999-04-24

Newly-elected Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has called his demands for a return of the U.S. Air Base in Yokota a "campaign bluff," but stands by his proposal for its joint use. Ishihara has said the base should be used by both the U.S. military and Japan's commercial airlines. Ishihara made the statement in an interview with the Japan Times.

Ishihara's first days as governor-elect has also seen him under fire from the Chinese, who claim comments he made last week could damage Sino-Japanese relations. The Japan Times quoted Ishihara as saying, "I do not like or approve of a nation under a communist dictatorship." This caused an immediate reaction from Beijing, and prompted the Beijing Daily, the nation's leading newspaper, to report Ishihara is "incapable of representing the government of Japan or the Japanese people." Ishihara has often aired his support for Tibet, stating he has "many Tibetan friends," including Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

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