Japan Defense Minister Meets Okinawan Governor Regarding U.S. Base Relocation

Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara met with Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki on Saturday, February 17th, pertaining to the transfer of a vital US military base on the island.

Construction on a new base has already begun; however, local authorities have overridden the project., which will move the USMC air base from the Ginowan district to the less populated Henoko.

Kihara pointed out the urgency of strengthening the capabilities of the country’s southwest, where Okinawa is located. However, Tamaki responded by saying the Central Government should honor the wishes of the locals and cease efforts to relocate the base. Kihara responded by saying that moving the base to the northern part of the island was the only solution and that it would continue.

The minister also met with Tamaki last month in Tokyo, where he stated to Tamaki his desire to hear the opinions of local residents who are affected.

A written request was also handed to Kihara by Tamaki, showing the island’s opposition to the deployment of long-range missiles for the purpose of striking enemy bases in the event of a conflict.