(Akahata: April 23, 2015 – p. 2)
The U.S. government is planning to carry out major repair work on 41 items at the USMC Futenma Air Station (Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture) for a total cost of 11.4 billion yen. The U.S. government has demanded that Japan pay for this repair work. House of Representatives member Keiji Kokuta of the Japanese Communist Party disclosed this information based on an internal document of the Defense Ministry for the first time on April 22 in a session of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs. Kokuta criticized the government by saying, “The plan totally contradicts the government’s pledge to suspend operations at the Futenma base within five years.”
In response to the demand by the U.S. to pay for the 41 items of repair, the Defense Ministry examined the cases so that the ministry could explain to the public that the repair work will not lead to the Futenma facilities remaining in their current location permanently. The Japan side first deliberated on adopting eight of the items. The ongoing five repair cases that began in 2013 match the eight cases described in the internal documents.
In response to the question from Kokuta, Vice Defense Minister Akira Sato refused to reveal the details of the U.S. demand.
Kokuta pointed out that there is a mechanism in which the Japanese government will be required to pay the cost of repair work at the current facilities should the construction of a new base at Henoko is delayed. Kokuta criticized this by saying, “Accepting the U.S. demand to pay the repair cost goes against the suspension of operations at the Futenma base within five years.”