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Suga comments on TPP, Okinawa

NHK’s Sunday talk show “Nichiyo Toron” featured a live interview with Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga, in which he answered questions on a range of foreign and domestic issues. Asked whether it is prudent for Japan to seek early ratification of the TPP since congressional approval appears to be unlikely in view of strong opposition from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the government spokesman said: “We are determined to fulfill our obligation in the upcoming Diet session on the final TPP accord reached by the leaders of the 12 member states…. President Obama is our current counterpart and we are confident that his administration will do its utmost to obtain congressional approval.” On Japan’s plan to refurbish outdated facilities at MCAS Futenma, Suga dismissed Okinawa’s concern that the base will remain in its current location indefinitely by saying: “Futenma renovation has already been underway for several years and it will be kept to a minimum for ensuring the safety of local residents and U.S. personnel. It will not lead to the base becoming a permanent fixture.” He added that it is only “natural” to link central government subsidies for Okinawa to progress on Futenma relocation.   

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