Governor Tolerates Plan to Build SDF Base in Mageshima Island

Politics

Kagoshima, Nov. 29 (Jiji Press)--Kagoshima Governor Koichi Shiota on Tuesday expressed his tolerance of a project to build a Japanese Self-Defense Forces base on Mageshima in line with the planned relocation of U.S. military aircraft drills to the island in the southwestern Japan prefecture.

"As a result of comprehensive consideration, we've got no choice but to understand (the need for the base)," he told a meeting of the prefectural assembly. Shiota had not made his position clear over the issue, saying that he would make a decision based on locals' opinions and the result of an environment impact assessment.

After the assembly meeting, Shiota told reporters that he was briefed by the Defense Ministry on Friday about preparatory documents on the ministry's environmental impact assessment, noting that its safety and environmental measures would be sufficient.

"The ministry has responded sincerely to opinions that I submitted (in October)," Shiota said. The governor also said he took "national security needs" into consideration.

Shunsuke Yaita, mayor of the Kagoshima Prefecture city of Nishinoomote, to which the island of Mageshima belongs, has not made clear whether he is in favor of the SDF base project. The Kagoshima prefectural government informed the mayor Monday of its intention to accept the project.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press