Japan Stands by Futenma Base Relocation despite High Costs


Tokyo, June 24 (Jiji Press)--The deployment of the Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system in Japan and the U.S. military base relocation plan within Okinawa Prefecture share the same problems of high costs and long construction times.

While planning to suspend the missile shield project, however, the Japanese government is determined to push ahead with the plan to transfer the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air base in a congested area of Ginowan, Okinawa, to the Henoko coastal district in Nago, also in the southernmost prefecture.

Okinawa residents are questioning the central government's contradictory stances.

"Under the policy of doing everything we can, we'll do our best to reduce the base-hosting burden of Okinawa," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday in a video message sent to a memorial service in Itoman, Okinawa, to mourn victims of the Battle of Okinawa during World War II. He did not mention the controversial Futenma relocation plan.

Abe's message was "almost the same" as his previous remarks, Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki told reporters, indicating disappointment.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press