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Ginowan mayor demands Futenma move to Guam

Date Posted: 2007-08-16

Undaunted by announcements flight patterns at Futenma Marine Corps Air Station would be modified to enhance safety in Ginowan, the mayor has demanded the base be "closed immediately" and "should transfer to Guam."

Mayor Choichi Iha says the announcement last week that take off and landing routes for Futenma helicopter would be changed doesn't mean anything. “There’s nothing that will eliminate the danger,” he says, and was vocal that “Ginowan City has been trying its best to get the Futenma Air Station returned to its owners.” He criticized the American and Japanese governments for doing nothing to end dangerous flight situations.

“I feel danger has increased more than before,” Iha complained. “We need to move Futenma overseas.” He says “The last election of the House of Councilors was great, and our side won so much,” referring to Keiko Itokazu’s opposition victory over the ruling Liberal Democracy Party. Itokazu and opposition groups have long opposed the move of Futenma to Henoko, in northern Okianwa.

Iha predicts the opposition parties will continue to gather strength in the next House of Representatives election, and that spells doom for continued American bases on Okianwa. “Futenma Air Station is not going to move to Henoko. It will go outside of Okinawa,” he says. “If House of Representatives members say to America ‘Take Futenma overseas’, they’ll have to listen to member voices.”

Getting Futenma closed and off Okinawa, says Iha, “Is my dream.”

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