Futenma relocation work to resume on Okinawa after talks fail
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 8, 2015
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The Japanese government has informed Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga it plans to resume relocation work at Camp Schwab, a northern U.S. Marine Corps base, after a month of “intensive” talks failed to produce a deal.
The talks, which accompanied a monthlong construction suspension and a site survey by local officials, were aimed at ironing out an agreement with Onaga, who has been very vocal in his opposition of the relocation of aircraft operations from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. Japanese officials have cited safety concerns as the driving force behind the move. Futenma is in a densely populated urban area in central Okinawa.
Onaga, who prefers moving the operations to mainland Japan, is against a runway being built into Oura Bay at Henoko. The Japanese and U.S. governments have said the move is the only option. In response, Onaga vowed to continue the fight to block the project. The temporary work suspension expires Wednesday.
“There was a big gap on how to remove the dangers (posed by Futenma),” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters after the final round of consultations in Tokyo, Kyodo News reported. “We could not gain the understanding of the prefecture.”