A big chasm is growing even bigger between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Gov. Takeshi Onaga of Okinawa over the government's plan to build a new airfield at Henoko in the city of Nago in northern Okinawa as a replacement for the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma located in the middle of the densely populated urban area of the city of Ginowan in central Okinawa. Behind the scenes, however, different parties involved entertain different and mutually contradictory intensions and expectations.

The Japanese Self-Defense Forces are drawing up a scheme that would eventually turn the new airfield into their own military base while there is a strong voice in Okinawa opposing the reversion of the Futenma base because of the intentions of landowners of the U.S. bases' premises who are receiving huge sums of rent from the Japanese government. The U.S. government, meanwhile, is maneuvering to fully utilize Japan to promote its own benefits.

In April, the Japanese and American ministers of foreign affairs and defense met in New York for "two plus two" talks and declared that the Henoko plan is "the only solution" that prevents the continued use of Futenma, adding the conferees "underscored their strong determination to achieve ... long-desired return" of Futenma to Japan.