National

Nakasone to visit Okinawa for realignment talks

Kyodo News

Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone said Tuesday he will visit Okinawa this weekend to discuss with Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima the stalled accord on reorganizing the U.S. military in Japan and inspect the Futenma, Kadena and other key U.S. bases.

“By visiting Okinawa, I would like to directly hear the local opinions, including those from Gov. Nakaima, as well as see in person the U.S. military facilities and areas concerned in order to (promote the reorganization) and reduce the (base-hosting) burden on Okinawa,” Nakasone told a news conference.

Nakasone will arrive in Naha on Saturday night. On Sunday he will visit the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in downtown Ginowan, its relocation site in Nago, and the U.S. Air Force Kadena Air Base, the Foreign Ministry said.

He will then hold talks with Nakaima and mayors of base-hosting municipalities.

The central government and Okinawa remain at odds over a 2006 agreement between Tokyo and Washington to construct an airfield in Nago for relocating the Futenma base air operations.

Okinawa has demanded that the envisioned airfield — with two 1,600-meter runways in a V-pattern that will use part of the coast of the U.S. Marine Corps Camp Schwab — be moved farther out on a cape.