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Governor endorses Futenma plan in talks with U.S. leaders

Date Posted: 2009-11-11

Okinawa’s governor, along with governors of three other prefectures that host American military installations, has returned from Washington after talks with U.S. defense leaders about the ongoing military bases reorganization plan.

Hirokazu Nakaima, along with his counterparts Narifumi Matsuzawa of Kanagawa Prefecture and those from Yamaguchi and Nagasaki Prefectures, spent more than a week in America, talking with the House of Representatives military committees, and with assistant secretaries of Defense. Talks centered on the so-called road map for realigning U.S. forces in Japan by 2014.

Kanagawa Prefecture’s Narifumi Matsuzawa contends “Futenma air station transfer should continue to Henoko, telling American leaders both countries agreed upon it, and other optiuons are virtually impossible. He was particularly firm on the believe combining Futenma and Kadena Air Base was even more difficult. “If Futenma is transferred to any other place, it will take more time,” he said, “and Okinawa people are going to be frustrated. If theHenoko area’s people say ‘no more military bases’ then Futenma’s problem wil be forever, with nobody moving and everything left up in the air.

Okinawa’s governor remains committed to the Henoko plan, despite some misgivings. “Sure, the best choice is to take Futenma outside Okinawa,” says Hirokazu Nakaima, “but if I think and look at history about how things come to pass, I feel there’s no choice other than moving the airbase to Henoko.” He says bringing Futenma to Henoko “is the necessity, really. I know the opinion of the Okinawan people, but I would also like to see the new political parties in power do some work, and how they’ll take care of this problem”.

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