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U.S. pressure, landowner’s financial problems behind agreement on Mage Island purchase

  • December 4, 2019
  • , Asahi
  • JMH Summary

Asahi ran an extensive behind-the-scenes story on the recent agreement between the GOJ and the owner of Mage Island in Kagoshima Prefecture on the purchase of the island as a candidate site for the transfer of the U.S. military’s field carrier landing practice (FCLP) from Iwo Island. The paper claimed pressure from the United States and the landowner’s financial problems lie behind the rapid progress in the eight-year-long negotiations between the two parties. The paper speculated the U.S. military regards FCLP as indispensable for operations of the Yokosuka-based aircraft carrier, which plays a key role in the United States’ forward deployment in the Indo-Pacific region. The paper alleged that Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga and other key members of the Abe administration had been frequently urged by senior U.S. government officials to move forward with the purchase of the island. The paper also alleged that the U.S. military conduced FCLP at Atsugi in the fall of 2017 for the first time in five years, citing foul weather as the reason, and the GOJ interpreted the exercise as “tacit pressure.”

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