Support our mission

The U.S.-Japan effort to shift military forces on Okinawa hit its most recent roadblock in November, when the prefecture re-elected a staunch opponent to the relocation of a key air base.

Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima, 71, has said he wants Marine Corps Air Base Futenma moved off Okinawa and will oppose moving the base farther north to a quiet beach area that is home to the dugong, an endangered marine mammal. The U.S. and Japan national government support that move.

Nakaima’s re-election means that the decade-long opposition over the existence of Futenma on Okinawa will continue. The southernmost prefecture has protested the Futenma base as noisy and dangerous, especially since the 2004 crash of a military helicopter at a nearby university. But it also opposes relocating the base in an environmentally sensitive area.

The U.S. and Japan signed off on the Futenma relocation in 2006, and it remains a lynchpin in a plan to realign military forces in the region, including the transfer of 8,600 Okinawa Marines to Guam by 2014.


stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up