: Classifieds : MyJU :
Stories: News
Browse News Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

Futenma relocation stirs massive interest

Date Posted: 2005-03-04

The governor of Okinawa wants Futenma air base closed.

He also wants the Marine Corps out of Okinawa, although he’s tempered the demands with a practical side by acknowledging some will probably be required here as part of the Japan-U.S. security pacts.

The Director General of the Japanese Defense Agency, Yoshinoro Ono, is talking now there could be another alternative to moving Futenma to the northern part of Okinawa. The plan for an offshore airport to serve both commercial interests and the military at Henoko, has met with vigorous opposition.

Ono is subtly responding to media queries, acknowledging new thinking could lead to American troop relocations to a variety locations, including mainland Japan, one of the outer islands such as Shimoji, or Kadena Air Base. There is also talk the troops could shift to Guam.

The U.S. government position is one of moving forward. The U.S. is now ready to discuss options that would speed up the Marine Corps departure from Futenma, located in Ginowan City. Talks on the issue keep hitting obstacles, according to official sources. The governments want to ease the load of Okinawans enduring the bases, but also recognize the security issues that must be faced.

While Ono has acknowledged there’s thinking about moving the American troops elsewhere, he steadfastly says “I repeat the government position … to relocate the facility to Henoko as agreed under the SACO final report in order to reduce the burden to Okinawa remains unchanged.”

Governor Keiichi Inamine is adamant about Marine Corps relocation outside Okinawa. He is headed stateside to talk directly with the State and Defense Departments, and plans to tell them he doesn’t want the troops that deployed from Okinawa to Iraq to come back. Futenma’s immediate closing is also a priority.

Joining Inamine is Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga, who is weighing in on the Futenma issue, saying “as a relevant leader due to being involved with MCAS Futenma’s flight entry route, I fully support the govenror’s visit.” Onaga also says the American military transformation makes this an ideal time for Okinawa change.

Lawmaker Shokichi Kina, a longtime antiwar, antimilitary activist and entertainer, has met with the Defense Facilities Administration Bureau to protest the return of American troops that have been serving in Iraq. He links that and the Futenma helicopter crash last August as reasons the troops should leave.

On a broader scope, sources say the U.S. will not shift its Army I Corps headquarters from Fort Lewis, Washington to mainland Japan. Plans had been discussed to shift the warfighting headquarters to Camp Zama in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Reports also say Atsugi Naval Air Facility, also in Kanagawa, will have a reprioritization of its mission and then be shifted elsewhere in Japan. Local Atsugi area residents complain about the constant noise levels from the base, which is used both by Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and U.S. military aircraft. Navy carrier aircraft use the base to practice night landings.

Browse News Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

weather currency health and beauty restaurants Yellowpages JU Blog

OkistyleOkistyleJU Facebook

Go to advertising PDF?||?|o?L?qAE?|?}?OA?N?ga`OkiStyle?A??q?qM?oeu^?I`??N?gX?<eth>?<ETH>?ni^?IWanted!!Golden Kings ScheduleOkiNightSeeker