Referring to the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corp Futenma airfield (Ginowan City) to the Henoko district in Nago City, Mayor Masanori Matsukawa of Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture, said at a press conference on Aug. 9, “Considering the fact that the construction is in progress and Governor Denny Tamaki has not presented any measure to reverse the current situation, I have to accept [Futenma relocation to the Henoko district].” When he took office, Mayor Matsukawa did not clarify whether or not he supported Futenma relocation to Henoko. Now he has apparently shifted to accepting the relocation to the Henoko district.
Aug. 13 marks the 15th anniversary of the crash of a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter deployed at the Futenma base on the campus of Okinawa International University in Ginowan City. Relocation of the airfield to Henoko would, stressed the mayor, “drastically reduce the danger it poses.”
On the other hand, the mayor said: “Twenty-three years have passed since the Japanese and U.S. governments agreed on the return of Futenma airfield to Japan, and 15 years since the helicopter crash. Yet the promise to return the entire Futenma base to Japan has not been fulfilled and citizens’ earnest hope has been left unaddressed. I want everyone in the prefecture and everyone in the country to seriously contemplate the weight of the time that has passed.”