Suga, Okinawa Leader Apart over Futenma Base Relocation

Politics

Tokyo, Oct. 7 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Denny Tamaki, governor of Okinawa Prefecture, were apart on Wednesday over the relocation of a key U.S. base in the southernmost Japan prefecture.

At their first meeting since Suga took office in mid-September, Tamaki reiterated that the issue of transferring the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air station in the city of Ginowan to the Henoko coastal district in Nago, another in Okinawa, should be resolved through dialogue. The governor is a staunch opponent of the base relocation within Okinawa.

But Suga said his government plans to advance the relocation based on Japan-U.S. agreements. The meeting, held at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, lasted about 10 minutes.

Tamaki called for a new consultation framework on the base issue, according to the governor. But Suga avoided a direct answer, saying only that his government is ready to work with the Okinawa side. Tamaki asked Suga for ample funds for the development of Okinawa under the state's budget for fiscal 2021, which starts next April.

After the Suga-Tamaki meeting, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said that "there already is a forum of discussions," citing a council between the state and relevant local governments on reducing Okinawa's burden from hosting the Futenma base.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press