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Gist of Okinawa governor’s Q&A with reporters after first meeting with PM Abe on Oct. 12

  • October 13, 2018
  • , Ryukyu Shimpo , p. 3
  • JMH Translation
  • ,

The following is the Gist of Governor Denny Tamaki’s remarks and his responses to reporters’ questions after his meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other officials:

 

Q: What did you talk about?

 

Tamaki: I requested an increase in lump sum subsidies and Okinawa’s development budget. While I approve of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the Okinawan people continue to shoulder an excessive base-hosting burden. I strongly requested the reduction of this burden, a drastic review of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), and solutions to the various problems generated by the bases. The recent gubernatorial election manifested once again the popular will against Henoko relocation and the construction of a new military base. I also conveyed my opposition to the construction of a new base in Henoko.

 

I asked the Prime Minister to hold discussions with the U.S. side on the closure and return of the Futenma Air Station within five years and to convene the council on the promotion of the reduction of the burden posed by the Futenma base. The Prime Minister said that the government’s position on promoting (the relocation) remains unchanged. While my position is different from that of the government, I said that I would like to cooperate on Okinawa’s economic development, the child poverty issue, and such other problems which we can agree on.

 

Q: Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has indicated that the relocation [of U.S. Marines] to Guam is linked to Henoko relocation. What do you think of this?

 

Tamaki: I also asked Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga about this. I don’t necessarily think Henoko relocation and Guam relocation are linked. The announcement made by the U.S. in 2012 was that regardless of Henoko relocation, the Marines will be moved to Guam, Hawaii, and elsewhere.

 

Q: Did the government side talk about an injunction on the implementation of the revocation of the landfill permit for Henoko?

 

Tamaki: They said they were in the process of looking at the details of the revocation order.

 

Q: What is your impression of the first meeting?

 

Tamaki: It was a very good meeting. I am really grateful that I was able to take the first step in holding dialogue soon after I took office. However, I don’t think we have achieved mutual understanding on all issues. It is necessary to persevere in dialogue.

 

Q: What is your vision for the whole country to think about security?

 

Tamaki: I asked for the creation of a trilateral forum consisting of the national government, the U.S. forces, and Okinawa.

 

Q: It would seem that the government is saying that there is no room for further discussions on Henoko relocation.

 

Tamaki: Not engaging in dialogue is different from ruling out dialogue. We will not be the one to reject dialogue. We will persist in requesting and calling for dialogue and asking the government to listen to the Okinawan people’s wishes.

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