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NAHA, Okinawa — Japan’s special ambassador to Okinawa said he wants negotiations between Tokyo and Okinawa over a new Marine Corps air station planned off the shore of Camp Schwab to resume soon.

“My sincere wish is for the plan to move forward so that Futenma air station is closed at the earliest possible date,” Ambassador in Charge of Okinawan Affairs Toshinori Shigeie said Wednesday during his final monthly press conference in his Naha office. He recently was named Japan’s ambassador to South Korea.

During his 18-month tenure, Shigeie was a liaison among Japan’s national government, Okinawa officials and the U.S. military.

Shigeie expressed his satisfaction Wednesday with the progress made with a joint crisis management team made up of U.S. military and Tokyo and Okinawa officials to respond to off-base U.S. military aircraft accidents on Okinawa.

“We achieved some positive results,” he said, referring to a joint disaster drill hosted by the Air Force at Kadena Air Base in February.

The Marine Corps is planning a similar drill for October, he said.

Shigeie said his replacement, yet to be announced, is expected to arrive on Okinawa by mid-September.


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