Edano visits Futenma airfield

NAHA, Okinawa Pref. (Kyodo) Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, who doubles as minister in charge of Okinawa issues, visited the controversial Futenma airfield Saturday.

The stated reason for the visit was to learn how the central government can ease the military burden on Okinawa.

Edano viewed the airfield from an observatory and was briefed by Defense Ministry officials.

“We have to deal with noise pollution and eradicate the danger” that may be caused by hosting the airfield, Edano said after viewing the site.

Futenma base is regarded as the world’s most dangerous, located in the middle of a residential area in the city of Ginowan. The Japanese and U.S. governments plan to relocate it to a less populated coastal area within Okinawa, but residents want it moved out of the prefecture altogether.

Edano repeated the government’s position to move the Futenma base to the Henoko area in Nago, northern Okinawa. “We will make serious efforts in meeting the Okinawan people’s will,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Edano also visited a national cemetery for the war dead in Itoman, an information technology park in Uruma and a new cargo terminal at Naha airport designed to boost trade with Asia.