Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times reported on a meeting in Naha on Thursday between Okinawa Governor Tamaki and Defense Minister Kishi at which the governor demanded the cancellation of the FRF construction initiative, the closure of MCAS Futenma, and the establishment of a venue for dialogue on base issues between Okinawa, Tokyo, and Washington. The defense chief reportedly rejected all of these requests, saying that the Henoko project is the only viable solution to concurrently maintain the deterrence of the U.S.-Japan alliance and remove the risk posed by the Futenma airfield. On Tamaki’s call for a framework for discussions among the three parties, the cabinet minister said: “The central government represents Okinawa in negotiations with the U.S. government. We have no plans to launch such a venue now.” Kishi also dismissed Tamaki’s request that Naha Military Port revert to Japanese control ahead of the transfer of its functions to Urasoe City on the grounds that the return is premised upon the completion of the relocation under the U.S.-Japan agreement.
Kishi reportedly met separately with municipal government leaders, including the mayors of Ginowan and Nago. Okinawa Times observed that Kishi responded with greater courtesy and understanding to local politicians’ calls for increased economic assistance than to the governor’s requests. According to the dailies, the defense minister also held talks with III MEF Commanding General Clardy.