Ending six months of silence over the issue of a sea-based heliport off the coast of Camp Schwab in Okinawa Prefecture, Gov. Masahide Ota on July 29 planted his foot on the side of the national government.

During a 40-minute meeting, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto urged the governor to cooperate with the central government for the successful relocation of the heliport from the U.S. Marine’s Futenma Air Station, arguing that the offshore site would prevent possible accidents around the air station, which sits in the middle of the city of Ginowan. Ota replied that although the prefectural government is in a difficult and sensitive position, the local government should do what it can to prevent accidents.

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