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Naha Mayor proposes moving Futenma Air Base to Iwo Jima

Date Posted: 2005-12-29

Takeshi Onaga has a plan to rid Ginowan of Futenma Marine Corps Air Station.

The Naha City mayor also has a plan for changing the status quo at Naha International Airport, adding another runway to separate military and civilian traffic. Onaga recommends moving Futenma to Iwo Jima, a Japanese island approximately 1,400 kilometers east of Okinawa.

Iwo Jima, which now hosts a Japanese Self Defense Force of more than 400 Maritime and Air personnel, has a 2,600 meters long runway. Onaga was on Iwo Jima last weekend, and has met with the Ogasawara Village mayor on his idea. The mayor, while not making commitments to Onaga, agreed that there is a need for some community in Japan to step forward an help reduce the military burdens on Okinawa.

Locally, Onaga wants to build a second runway at the Naha International Airport. The new runway envisioned by the mayor would stretch into the waters off the coast, and would be used only by military traffic. Onaga says this would free the existing runway to increase commercial capacity in support of Okinawa growth.

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