Mayor rejects construction of new U.S. Navy hospital

Okinawa's Ginowan City mayor has rejected a plan to relocate the U.S. Navy hospital in Okinawa to the city from U.S. Camp Kuwae in Chatan Town.

In announcing his rejection on June 19, Ginowan Mayor Iha Yoichi said, "The city maintains the goal of getting rid of U.S. military bases and will not allow any new permanent U.S. military installations to be constructed."

In 1996, the Japan-U.S. Special Action Committee (SACO) agreed on relocating the hospital in exchange for a return to Japan of part of U.S. Camp Kuwae. The site for relocation reportedly will be in U.S. Camp Zukeran which extends over five local municipalities, including Ginowan City.

Former Ginowan Mayor Hika Morimitsu, who was arrested for receiving illegal political donations and convicted by a court, had been in favor of the relocation plan.

The new mayor, who was elected last April, has overturned the former mayor's policy. He stands firmly against the government plan to relocate U.S. military bases within Okinawa, including the U.S. Marine Corp Futenma Air Station in Ginowan to Nago City. (end)

Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved.