Okinawans Hopeful for Base Burden Reduction after Biden’s Win

Society Politics

Naha, Okinawa Pref., Nov. 9 (Jiji Press)--People in Okinawa Prefecture, home to the bulk of U.S. bases in Japan, have expressed hopes that the victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the U.S. presidential election will lead to a reduction of the base-hosting burdens on the southernmost prefecture.

Tatsuya Gomi, a 45-year-old corporate worker who lives near the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma air base in a congested area of Ginowan, Okinawa, said he had been worried that “something may happen” under the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump because of his hardline approaches toward China and other countries.

Noting that drills at the Futenma base have been intensifying, Gomi said he hopes that the United States will “relax its tough stance and make things calm” under the new administration of Biden, who declared Saturday his victory in the presidential election.

The Japanese government, based on an agreement with Washington, plans to move the Futenma base to a replacement facility to be built in the Henoko coastal area of Nago, also in Okinawa. About 70 pct of all U.S. military bases and facilities in Japan are located in Okinawa and the prefectural government has been demanding the Futenma base be moved out of Okinawa.

Takemasa Kinjo, 63, who lives in Henoko, said, “I know that there’ll be no change in the base relocation plan, but I hope that Mr. Biden will think about Okinawa, even if only slightly, and try to listen to feelings of Okinawans.”

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press