Japan, U.S. confirm Futenma relocation to Henoko

Kyodo

The Japanese and U.S. governments confirmed Sunday that they will forge ahead with their delayed plan for relocating U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within Okinawa Prefecture, a visiting U.S. diplomat said.

“We made very clear both of our intentions of the U.S. and the Japanese governments” to proceed with the current plans, Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said in Tokyo.

Referring to the increasingly shaky 2014 deadline for relocation, Campbell said, “The timing and details will be taken up by the ministers of the two-plus-two.”

Campbell did not elaborate further, but Japan and the United States are expected to formally withdraw the deadline at the two-plus-two talks, which will bring together their foreign and defense ministers. The two countries are in the final stage of preparations for the June 20 meeting in Washington.

Campbell made the remarks after meeting with Kazuyoshi Umemoto, chief of the Foreign Ministry’s North American Affairs Bureau, and Nobushige Takamizawa, chief of the Defense Ministry’s Defense Policy Bureau.

Under a 2006 deal, the two countries are to move Marine Corps flight functions to the coast of Nago from Ginowan by 2014. But Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima has urged both governments to move the base outside the prefecture.