Okinawa 1988-1991

Okinawa 1988-1991

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Govt looks to persuade Okinawa on U.S. base transfer

The government is willing to take time to win the support of Okinawa Prefecture for a plan to build a new air base at the U.S. Marine Corps' Camp Schwab on the island prefecture, Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya said Monday.

There is still plenty of time to win over the prefecture on the plan, Moriya said, adding that reclamation work, which requires the approval of the Okinawa governor, will not begin until after construction progresses on a land area.

The new facility will be built along the coast at Camp Schwab in the city of Nago.

The Defense Agency is expected to start reclamation work about three years after construction starts for the air base.

The facility is designed to allow the Marine Corps to vacate and return the site of Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, southern Okinawa, to Nago as the two countries agreed in 1996.

The Futenma station is located in the heart of Ginowan and has been a constant source of friction with local residents.

The agency hopes to transfer the helicopter unit at Futenma to Camp Schwab before the new facility is completed, by first creating enough space for helicopter operations at the camp.

Okinawa Governor Keiichi Inamine is against the relocation, but Nago Mayor Yoshikazu Shimabukuro expressed his support for the plan in his talks with Defense Minister Fukushiro Nukaga on Friday.

The minister and the mayor agreed to modify the original plan and build two runways so that planes using them will not fly over the city''s residential areas.


Post a Comment

<< Home