NAHA, Okinawa Pref. (Kyodo) Prime Minister Taro Aso told Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima on Saturday that he was willing to achieve an “early solution” to the stalled plan to relocate the U.S. Marines’ Futenma Air Station from Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, to the nearby shores of Camp Schwab in Nago.
But in his first visit to the island prefecture since taking office in September, Aso did not respond to Nakaima’s request about where to build the airfield that will take over the key functions of Futenma, Nakaima said.
Nakaima told reporters that he asked for the airfield to be built “a little more offshore” than agreed to by Japan and the United States in 2006 in order to protect the environment.
The envisioned airfield features two 1,600-meter runways set in a V-shaped formation that will rest on part of Camp Schwab’s coastline.
Aso told reporters the key is “how to balance the voices of local people and arrangements as set by the road map” in the bilateral agreement to complete the base relocation by 2014.
Nakaima said he also asked Aso to ensure the central government takes measures to reduce noise around the U.S. Air Force’s Kadena Air Base. The governor also called for Tokyo’s support in two projects: a new runway for Naha airport and the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology by 2012.
Aso promised that the central government would help find and dispose of unexploded bomb shells left behind during World War II.
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