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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 February 5 - 11  > Relocation of Futenma base functions will impose further burdens on Okinawans: JCP Nihi
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2014 February 5 - 11 [OKINAWA]

Relocation of Futenma base functions will impose further burdens on Okinawans: JCP Nihi

February 7, 2014
Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Nihi Sohei on February 6 at a House Budget Committee meeting criticized the planned shift of functions of the U.S. Futenma base to a new base as being incapable of reducing residents’ burdens.

Nihi pointed out that a new base, slated to be built in the Henoko district of Nago City, Okinawa, will have two 1,800-meter runways and that the proposed length of a wharf at the base was expanded to 272 meters from the initial 200 meters in order to enable the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship, USS Bonhomme Richard, which can carry Ospreys, to dock there.

The new base will become a huge military facility with state-of-the-art functions, and more than just an alternative to the Futenma base, said the JCP lawmaker.


Nihi also argued that a plan to move all 15 KC-130 aerial refueling tanker aircraft from the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa to MCAS Iwakuni on Japan’s mainland will not work to ease Okinawa people’s burdens. As the reason for this, he cited the defense authorities’ statement that flight training of the aircraft will continuously take place at Okinawa’s Iejima island even after the move.

In addition to the 15 tanker planes from the Futenma base, 59 ship-based military jets will be transferred from another U.S. base to Iwakuni.

Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori said that the number of U.S. military aircraft deployed to the Iwakuni base will increase to 120 from the current 50.

Nihi condemned the transfer plan for turning the Iwakuni base into the largest U.S. base in the Far East and creating further noise pollution which is already causing terrible hardships on people living near the base.
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