Abe, New Okinawa Chief Divided over Base Relocation

Politics

Tokyo, Oct. 12 (Jiji Press)--Denny Tamaki, new governor of Okinawa Prefecture, on Friday reiterated his opposition to the planned relocation of a key U.S. base within the southernmost Japan prefecture, at his first meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe since his victory in the gubernatorial election late last month.

Tamaki called on Abe to create a forum for discussions on the issue of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air station, located in the city of Ginowan, Okinawa.

But Abe said his administration plans to proceed with the current plan of relocating the base to the Henoko coastal area in Nago, another Okinawa city, while avoiding a clear-cut answer to Tamaki's request. The meeting, held at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, was joined by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

Referring to the result of the Sept. 30 Okinawa gubernatorial election, Tamaki said, "I want the Japanese government to sincerely listen to the voice of Okinawa residents and promptly establish a council to discuss the base relocation issue based on the view that the burdens for ensuring national security should be shouldered across the country."

According to Tamaki, the prime minister stressed that there is "no change" in his government's position on the base issue. Tamaki quoted Abe as saying that his administration is ready to work with the Okinawa prefectural government in areas of common interest, such as reviving the regional economy and tackling child poverty.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press