Inamine off to U.S. for base talks


Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine departed Naha on Sunday for the United States to confer with top U.S. government officials on the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, central Okinawa, to another site in the prefecture.

It is Inamine’s first trip to the U.S. to discuss the bases issue since he was elected governor in December 1998, and it is mainly aimed at lobbying U.S. officials ahead of the U.S. Defense Department’s release of its quadrennial policy review report in September.

Inamine is being accompanied on the two-week trip by Nago Mayor Tateo Kishimoto, whose city will accommodate the air station’s heliport.

Inamine and Kishimoto will meet U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and other officials to discuss the prefecture’s demand that a 15-year limit be put on the U.S. military’s use of a new airport that is to be built in Nago’s Henoko district to accept the heliport, prefectural government officials said. Washington has rejected the demand.

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