Okinawa and Tokyo stay apart after second meeting Tuesday
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga held their second meeting regarding the relocation of the MCAS Futenma. The meeting that lasted 30 minutes took place Tuesday in the prime minister’s office in Tokyo.
Accompanying Onaga at the meeting was Vice Governor Mitsuo Ageda. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, Okinawa Affairs Minister Shunichi Yamaguchi and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita also attended the meeting.
Regarding Okinawa’s demand to close the MCAS Futenma within five years, Suga stated that it would be difficult to close the air station within five years without relocating it to Henoko. Defense Minister Nakatani stressed the strategic importance of the U.S. bases in the prefecture.
On his part, Onaga stated his doubts about the deterrence effect of the U.S. Marines on Okinawa, and also said that it’s a common misunderstanding that Okinawa gets a larger amount of budget for local development from the national government than any other region.
Although the sides remain deadlocked in their respective positions, they agreed to continue the talks to try to reach mutual understanding.
The third meeting of the ongoing ‘intense’ talks is scheduled for Aug. 24th in Okinawa.