Iwaya Seeks Understanding For Base Relocation

Iwaya seeks understanding for base relocation

Japan's Defense Minister has met with the governor of Okinawa to seek his understanding for the resumption of reclamation work for the relocation of a US air base in the prefecture.

Takeshi Iwaya visited Okinawa on Saturday for the first time since the defense ministry resumed the work on November 1st, after the land minister issued an injunction that allowed it to go ahead. The land ministry has jurisdiction over the related laws.

Governor Denny Tamaki, who was elected in September, opposes the central government's plan to move the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station from the densely populated Ginowan City to the less populated coastal district of Henoko in Nago City.

Iwaya said in a meeting with Tamaki that he believes the government and Okinawa share the view that removing the dangers posed by the base at its current site and returning that land to Japan is the core of the issue.

He said he will do whatever he can to gain the understanding of the governor and residents.

Tamaki said the people of Okinawa made it clear in the gubernatorial election that they oppose the relocation plan.

He said that efforts to achieve peace are helping to transform the security environment in East Asia, as shown by the US-North Korea summit in June.

Tamaki said he hopes that the government will abandon the relocation plan.