Both concerns and hopes were voiced in Okinawa on the impact of the reappointment of all cabinet members of the Abe administration on the base issues and economic development.
A senior Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) official involved in base issues said that while Okinawa would like to ask Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera to make efforts to resolve the base issues, “we probably cannot hope for any results.”
He touched on the fact that the Japanese side was not able to conduct an environmental impact assessment or other investigations in the aftermath of the CH-53E helicopter crash. “What is at issue is Japan’s sovereignty,” he asserted. “We hope that the Foreign and Defense Ministries will firmly address the accident with the U.S. side.”
There are also numerous issues in terms of economic development. The continuing reduction in the budget for Okinawa is also a matter of great concern.
A senior OPG official welcomes the reappointment of Tetsuma Esaki as Okinawa affairs minister. He said: “Mr. Esaki came to Okinawa twice after he assumed office, and we expected to work with him in the future. He also belongs to the Nikai faction, which sympathizes with Okinawa. We would like to work with him based on the common understanding that Okinawa’s development will contribute to the revitalization of the Japanese economy,” expressing his expectations. (Abridged)