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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 April 13 - 19  > After 20 years, Japan-US agreement on return of Futenma base has yet to be implemented
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2016 April 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

After 20 years, Japan-US agreement on return of Futenma base has yet to be implemented

April 13, 2016
April 12 marked 20 years since the Japanese and U.S. governments agreed on the return of the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture. The two governments in April 1996 proclaimed that the return will be achieved within five to seven years, but the base remains in Okinawa. This is because the relocation of the Futenma base to a new base in Nago’s Henoko district was set as a precondition for its return.

Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi in his comment published on April 12 severely criticized the Japanese government for continuing to insist on implementing the plan to relocate the base within the prefecture.

The Futenma relocation is not a problem that exclusively affects Okinawa. In association with the new base construction in the prefecture, functions of U.S. bases in other parts of Japan are also being strengthened in various ways, such as transfers of KC-130 air tankers from Futenma and expansion of the operation of MV-22 Osprey aircraft nationwide. The construction cost of the base, estimated to be at least 350 billion yen, will be imposed on the general public in Japan. Thus, this is a problem involving the whole country.

Okinawans, regardless of their political affiliations or ideology, created the “All Okinawa” cooperation movement in the November 2014 gubernatorial election and established the prefectural government headed by Governor Onaga. They have been working together to block the new base construction. In a prefectural residents’ rally held on May 17, 2015, participants adopted the slogan, “From All Okinawa to All Japan”.

The way to resolve the base issue in Okinawa is to vote in a new national government that will force the U.S. to unconditionally return the Futenma base through “All Japan” efforts.

Past related articles:
> Tokyo & Okinawa resume negotiations on US base construction issue [March 24, 2016]
> Fishermen oppose carrying landfill materials to Henoko [November 30, 2014]
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