The government does not plan any changes to the Japan-U.S. plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station within Okinawa, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said Monday.
“On the part of the government, we would like to fully explain to the local people in line with the joint document agreed to by Japan and the United States in October last year,” Abe said, after senior ruling bloc lawmakers referred to the possibility of the program change the previous day.
Abe said the government will keep trying to finalize the overall realignment plan on the U.S. military presence by month’s end.
At issue is an accord to build an 1,800-meter airstrip straddling the U.S. Camp Schwab and the coastline in Nago in order to relocate the Futenma Air Station in downtown Ginowan, both in Okinawa. Nago wants the runway to be moved slightly out to sea.
The policy chiefs of the governing Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito — Hidenao Nakagawa and Yoshihisa Inoue — indicated Sunday on a TV news show that minor changes could be made to the relocation plan.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Defense Agency Director General Fukushiro Nukaga will meet Tuesday and are believed to be working toward finalizing details of Japan-U.S. plans for realigning the U.S. forces in Japan to meet a March 31 deadline, government sources said Monday.