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SECURITY > Okinawa

Futenma relocation target date ‘impossible’

  • September 4, 2019
  • , NHK WORLD
  • English Press

The Japanese government says it will be difficult to set a target date for the closure of US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in the city of Ginowan in southwestern Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture.

 

Working-level talks over how to reduce Okinawa’s burden of hosting US military bases were held at the Okinawa Prefectural government office in Naha on Wednesday. They were the first such discussions since July last year.

 

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita and Okinawa Vice Governor Kiichiro Jahana attended the meeting.

 

The Okinawa representatives said the goal of ending Futenma’s use by the US military, originally set for February this year, has not been realized.

 

The central government representatives said that at present no definite date for the closure of the Futenma base can be set. They said that is because the prefecture has yet to cooperate in relocating the base’s operations to Henoko, a less-populated area in the Okinawa city of Nago.

 

Japan and the United States have agreed to relocate the Futenma Air Station to Henoko. But the prefectural government rejects the plan.

 

Referring to repeated incidents in which objects have fallen from US military helicopters in Okinawa, the central government representatives told the prefectural officials that they will urge the US to tighten safety management. They also indicated that the central government will address the issue of an allegedly toxic substance detected in a water source near Futenma.

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