(Sankei: February 13, 2015 – p. 5)
Prime Minister Abe stressed in his policy address that the government will reduce the base burden on Okinawa through concrete “actions” instead of empty “words” to deal with the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko.
This remark was meant to criticize former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who created confusion by pledging to move the U.S. base outside Okinawa when the Democratic Party of Japan was in power. However, it also appeared to be directed at Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, raising doubts about his political stance.
Onaga is opposed to the relocation plan to Henoko, but he has not set forth concrete measures for eliminating the danger posed by the Futenma base. Abe’s remark was probably aimed at keeping him in check by calling on him to take action in removing the danger at Futenma instead of simply opposing the Henoko plan.
Abe noted that the government will do its best to allocate to Okinawa about 300 billion yen a year through fiscal 2021. In the fiscal 2015 budget plan, 333.9 billion yen has been secured to fulfill the government’s promise to former Governor Hirokazu Nakaima.
However, the figure is 4.6% less than the amount allocated in fiscal 2014, marking the first year-on-year cut in five years.