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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 April 17 - 23  > Japan-US '2+2' talks reaffirm continuance of Henoko base project, ignoring Okinawans' will
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2019 April 17 - 23 [POLITICS]

Japan-US '2+2' talks reaffirm continuance of Henoko base project, ignoring Okinawans' will

April 20, 2019

The Japanese and U.S. governments in a meeting held in Washington on April 19 reaffirmed the construction of a new U.S. base in Henoko in complete disregard of Okinawan opposition.

The bilateral foreign and defense ministers in the Security Consultative Committee, so-called "2-plus-2" talks, released a joint statement reasserting that to construct a new U.S. base at the Henoko area in Okinawa's Nago City "is the only solution that avoids the continued use of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma".

The statement praised the ongoing Henoko project for making "significant progress" and expressed the intention to complete the new facility "at the earliest possible date". However, they did not specify a specific date for completion.

The two governments in April 2013 agreed upon a time table for "returning" the U.S. Futenma base site to Japan. According to this agreement, the base is to be returned in "fiscal 2022 or later". However, the construction period may be extended due to the discovered existence of a very soft seafloor at the site.

The USMC in its 2019 Aviation Plan (AvPLAN) crossed off Henoko-related works from its list of planned new facilities, with an intent to continue to use the Futenma base until 2028.

The four ministers in the statement named Kagoshima's Mageshima Island as a candidate site for field carrier landing practice (FCLP) by the U.S. carrier-borne air corps. The acquisition of this site will apparently encounter resistance, but the statement expressed appreciation for the Japanese government's "continued efforts to acquire Mageshima".

The joint statement also highlighted space, cyberspace, and the electromagnetic spectrum as "priority areas" in new strategic combat domains. They proclaimed for the first time that a cyberattack on Japan "would constitute an armed attack" under Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

The four ministers also underscored the smooth deployment of Japan's ground-based anti-ballistic missile system "Aegis Ashore".

Past related articles:
> US military deletes Henoko base-related projects from its annual planning document [April 9, 2019]
> JCP urges Defense Ministry to cancel planned relocation of FCLP to Mageshima Island [January 23, 2019]
> JCP Koike comments on Abe government’s new defense program [December 19, 2018]
> Abe gov’t should give up on deploying Aegis Ashore system to Japan [August 2, 2018]
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