New Okinawan Gov Takeshi Onaga, who took office last month, left Tokyo on Friday night after a three-day visit to Tokyo during which he was unable to meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe or Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
Japanese media said Saturday that Abe and Suga had given Onaga, 64, the cold shoulder because of his opposition to the proposed plan to relocate a U.S. military base from Futenma to Henoko in Okinawa.
During his visit to Tokyo, the highest official whom Onaga met was Shunichi Yamaguchi, state minister in charge of Okinawa-related issues.
Before returning to Okinawa, Onaga said he had requested meetings with both Abe and Suga in advance to discuss his ideas for the base relocation, TV Asahi reported. He told reporters he was sorry the meetings could not be realized.
Japanese media also reported that Tokyo may cut its budget for Okinawa in fiscal 2015.
Last month, Onaga ousted incumbent Hirokazu Nakaima by 360,820 votes to 261,076. In his farewell speech, Nakaima, who had approved Tokyo's plan to relocate the base within Okinawa, urged Onaga to move ahead with the plan instead of just saying no, which wouldn't settle anything, he said.
Onaga has promised to veto the landfill work needed for a new base to be built.
Years of deadlock on the planned base relocation have frustrated the Americans and been a thorn in the side of successive Japanese governments.
Okinawa is home to more than half of the 47,000 U.S. service personnel stationed in Japan, and strategically key to the U.S.-Japan security alliance at a time of simmering tensions in East Asia.
But there is widespread local hostility to the military presence, with complaints over noise, the risk of accidents and a perception that the presence of so many young servicemen is a source of crime.
There have been plans for years to move the Futenma air base from a crowded urban area to a sparsely populated coastal district elsewhere on Okinawa -- some 50 kilometers to the north of the current location.
But opponents like Onaga say Okinawa already hosts a disproportionate share of the U.S. military presence in Japan, and the U.S. base should be moved outside the islands altogether.
After his election, Onaga said: "I'd like to convey the message to the governments of Japan and the United States... that the wishes of the people here are different from the administrative action in December last year," referring to his predecessor's about-face.
Onaga said he would "act with determination" toward retracting approval for the landfill work.© Japan Today/AP