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U.S. review endorses moving Futenma to the north

Date Posted: 2012-08-06

Itís back to the original plan for moving Futenma Marine Corps Air Station from congested Ginowan City to a sparsely populated region of northern Okinawa.

More than 100 pages of data from an independent study of the Okinawa issues ordered by Congress have been released, and it supports long-time plans for moving Futenma to the Henoko district of Nago City, while continuing with plans for shifting thousands of Marines from Okinawa to other places in the Pacific. Most planning had come to a screeching halt in the past year after U.S. Senators Carl Levin, D-Michigan, James Webb, D-Virginia, and John McCain, R-Arizona, had suggested the Guam plan and the airfield move to Henoko were too expensive.

Among other things, the senators had suggested Futenma could easily be co-located with the Air Force at Kadena Air Base in central Japan. The Center for Strategic and International Studies didnít see eye-to-eye with that, instead endorsing proposals to continue with development of plans for moving the controversial airfield north, and shifting 9,000 U.S. Marines elsewhere in the Pacific. After the senators had made their proposals, the Senate froze all funds for relocating anyone from Okinawa.

The CSIS study was completed some days ago, but had been withheld initially by DoD. It has now been sent by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to Congress. Congressmen, CSIS and the Pentagon initially decided not to release the study.

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