“Revisit the Henoko relocation plan.” That’s a voice being heard within the ruling LDP after Defense Minister Taro Kono announced the scrapping of the planned deployment of Aegis Ashore to Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures. On July 2, former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba opined in a lecture given to a Kyodo News-sponsored editors meeting that the government’s policy that Henoko is the only option must be scrutinized and reconsidered. On July 3 former Defense Minister Gen Nakatani visited Okinawa and met with Gov. Denny Tamaki to suggest that the new Henoko base can be jointly used by military and civilian aircraft, thus indicating there's a room for altering the current relocation plan.

The Abe government keeps saying the Henoko relocation must be carried out at all cost in order to: (1) eliminate the danger Futenma poses to Ginowan citizens and (2) maintain the U.S. Marines’ deterrence capability. The elimination of danger could be solved right away if only they decide Futenma would be closed and returned tomorrow. Why don't they do that if the danger Futenma poses is so worrisome? The government’s reasoning for it is that deterrence must be maintained. But is Futenma's replacement really conducive to the security of Japan, hence an absolute necessity for deterrence?

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