Abe to try building trust in Okinawa

Kyodo

With the long-stalled plan to relocate the Futenma military base expected to top the agenda, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Okinawa on Saturday for the first time since forming his Cabinet in late December, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday.

During the one-day visit, Abe will meet with Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima in the hope of taking “a first step to rebuild trust” with the prefecture, which was undermined during the past three years under the government led by the Democratic Party of Japan, Suga said.

The visit is being seen as Abe’s attempt to achieve progress on the base relocation despite strong local opposition before he travels to the U.S. for talks with President Barack Obama.

Abe’s government is considering applying for land reclamation for the new base, officials said. Such work requires Nakaima’s OK.