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Ex-Pentagon expert agrees Futenma should be closed

Date Posted: 2004-09-24

A former Reagan administration defense policies expert says Futenma Marine Corps Air Station should be closed soon.

Dr. James Auer, a former Japan Specialist at the Defense Department, and now Director of the Center for U.S. – Japan Studies and Cooperation at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, told Naha listeners this week Futenma is important, but that it’s not critical to helicopter operations on Okinawa. Speaking at a luncheon organized by the American Consulate Naha and the Okinawa Association of Corporate Executives and the Okinawa Peace Cooperation Center, Auer told the 100 guests “the relocation site for Futenma should be determined immediately.”

At the same time, Auer spoke strongly that the North Korea threat, as well as movement in China and at unstable locations elsewhere in Asia, makes it vital “there be no change to the strategic importance of Okinawa.” His address theme was the “Security Treaty in the Region: Analysis concerning U.S. Military Stationing in Japan.

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