Defense Agency chief Fukushiro Nukaga told reporters Friday that he will make a one-day visit to Okinawa on Tuesday to assess the current situation involving U.S. military bases there.
He said, however, that he has no intention so far to meet with Okinawa Gov. Masahide Ota, citing his tight schedule. Nukaga said that he will need more time to contemplate U.S. base-related issues before meeting with the governor. “I would like to see the U.S bases there without any preconceived ideas,” said Nukaga, adding that it will be his first visit to the U.S. military facilities in the island prefecture.
Ota, who has announced his intention to run in the next gubernatorial election in November — for his third consecutive term — has rejected the central government’s plan to construct a sea-based heliport for the U.S. Marine Corps off Camp Schwab on Okinawa’s main island, where 20 percent of the land is used by U.S. military forces.
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