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Foreign minister, Governor to consult on base issues

Date Posted: 2009-01-29

Japan’s Foreign Minister will pay a visit to Okinawa this weekend, touring American military bases and meeting with Governor Hirokazu Nakaima to learn firsthand local thinking on the issues.
Hirofuni Nakasone will make his first official visit to the prefecture, arriving in Naha Saturday night in a first step toward hopefully resolving issues separating Okinawa and the central government over the 2006 Washington-Japan agreement than includes relocating Futenma Marine Corps Air Station to Nago’s Henoko area. He’s to meet with Governor Nakaima and discuss Okinawa’s demand the two 1,600-meter runways at the proposed airfield be moved farther off the coastline, adjacent to Camp Schwab.
“By visiting Okinawa, I want to hear directly the local opinions, including those from Governor Nakaima,” the Foreign Minister said in Tokyo, “as well as see in person the U.S. military facilities and areas concerned in order to promote the reorganization and reduce base hosting burdens on Okinawa.” Nakasone will tour Futenma Sunday morning, followed by visits to Henoko and to Kadena Air Base.
Nakaima and a group of mayors from cities, towns and villages hosting U.S. military installations will meet with the Foreign Minister following his tour.

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