Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday met with Okinawa Gov Hirokazu Nakaima to seek local support for the planned relocation of the U.S. air base at Futenma to Henoko.
Suga, making his first visit to Okinawa since assuming his post, said the government was determined to ease the base-hosting burden on Okinawans, while maintaining a deterrence, Fuji TV reported. However, he said the central government must proceed with the relocation plan in line with the 2005 Japan-U.S. agreement.
Nakaima repeated his longstanding objection to the plan, saying that he wanted to see the Futenma base relocated outside the prefecture.
Last month, the government formally asked Nakaima to approve plans to build the new U.S. military facilities at Henoko. It submitted an application seeking Nakaima to give approval for landfill work at Henoko.
Nakaima said Wednesday that while he is opposed to the plan, he will examine the application as required by law, Fuji reported.
The Okinawan governor also told Suga that Okinawans object to a ceremony, scheduled for April 28, to mark the restoration of Japan's sovereignty seven years after its defeat in World War II.
The plan has upset some residents of Okinawa, which remained under U.S. control for another two decades after 1952.© Japan Today