The two major Okinawa papers reported on Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga’s announcement yesterday on his bid to seek the LDP presidency, highlighting his resolve to move forward with the plan to build the Futenma replacement facility off Camp Schwab. “I want people in Okinawa to understand that the FRF initiative is being promoted in the belief that the danger of MCAS Futenma can be removed by transferring its functions to the Henoko area,” he was quoted as saying. “If elected, I will push forward with the relocation initiative that will result in moving one-third of U.S. forces in Okinawa outside the prefecture.”
Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that although Suga extolled the Abe administration’s “accomplishments” in reducing the base-hosting burden on the island prefecture during the press event, his comments on the details were sometimes misleading and inaccurate. Okinawa Times noted that Suga has been the chief proponent of the FRF plan since he assumed the current post in December 2012, expressing the view that he has employed a “high-handed” approach in promoting the construction by directly linking central government subsidies for local municipalities to their support for the project.