Move Futenma to Kansai airport?

by Eric Johnston

In an unexpected remark, Osaka Gov. Toru Hashimoto said Monday he is open to having the U.S. Futenma base relocate to Kansai International Airport.

“If the government officially wants to talk about the possibility of moving Futenma to Kansai airport, I’d want to discuss it with them about moving, basically, in the direction of accepting the idea of relocation,” Hashimoto said. “Okinawans have a huge burden (with the U.S. bases). We in Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and Hokkaido have to take this into consideration.”

Hashimoto, however, insisted he was expressing his personal opinion only and there has been no official request from the central government to begin such discussions.