Third round of ‘intensive’ talks yield scarce results

The third round of the ‘intensive’ discussions between the Japanese central government and Okinawa Prefecture in Naha, Monday, brought a first agreement between the fighting sides as they agreed to cooperate on efforts to eliminate danger from the MCAS Futenma.

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita, who’s visiting Okinawa for the talks and Okinawa Vice Governor Mitsuo Ageda reached the agreement during the Monday at the Prefectural Government Office Building.

However, no progress was made in the main sticking point of the relocation itself with Tokyo continuing to insist that the relocation to Henoko is the only option and Okinawa sticking to its stance that the Futenma base has to be moved outside the prefecture.

After the working-level session, Ageda told reporters, “We must work with the same level of awareness on the elimination of danger.”

In the talks, the Okinawa side asked the central government to reverse its decision seek suspension of Onaga’s order to halt the offshore work related to the transfer of the Futenma base. However, the central government was adamant, saying, “Our view has not changed.”

Another topic that came up in the discussion was Okinawa’s request for the early return of the southern part of Camp Foster. The prefecture is planning to use to land to create what is called an Industrial Corridor.

Next, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and Onaga, are scheduled to meet in a few days. A total of five rounds of ‘intensive’ talks is scheduled before the government declared halt in the construction off the coast of Henoko is scheduled to resume on Sep. 9th.

11:39 04 Mar , 2024