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Okinawa alarmed by Suga’s approach to base issues

Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times reported extensively on Suga’s election as LDP president. The papers predicted that the Suga administration will move forward steadily with Futenma relocation and other U.S. force realignment initiatives in Okinawa. The dailies described the politician as the principal proponent of implementing various base consolidation and reduction projects, including the return of the Northern Training Area, claiming that he has unabashedly linked central government grants and subsidies for the island economy to local support for the base realignment plans. They forecast that a Suga administration would take a carrot-and-stick approach to implementing the FRF construction off Camp Schwab, which he has repeatedly claimed is the “only viable solution” to remove the danger posed by MCAS Futenma. They also conjectured that the division between Tokyo and Okinawa will deepen in light of steadfast local opposition to Futenma relocation.

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