Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka indicated Wednesday she will ask the United States to relocate some of its military drills from Okinawa to Guam and other places.
She said she will “make specific proposals” on the U.S. training activities in Okinawa during talks with Secretary of State Colin Powell, scheduled for Monday in Washington.
Speaking at a meeting of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, she indicated her proposals would deal with an already floated plan in which the U.S. military would conduct drills on a rotating basis between Okinawa, Guam and other locations. But she did not provide details.
The rotation plan is intended to reduce the burden on Okinawa, which accommodates three quarters of U.S. military facilities in Japan. Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine has been calling on the U.S. military to carry out some exercises, currently conducted in Okinawa, overseas.
Tanaka expressed her willingness to address issues related to Okinawa during her talks with Powell, but on the proposal to institute a 15-year limit on the U.S. military’s use of an airport to be built in Nago, northern Okinawa, Tanaka said, “I will touch on the issue but since the United States has its own position, I want to hear its view as well.”
Residents are demanding that the limit be imposed on the Nago facility, which would host heliport functions of Futenma Air Station after they are relocated from Ginowan in central Okinawa. The U.S. has been saying it would be difficult to set such a limit.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.