NAHA (Okinawa Pref.): Taro Kono, Japan’s new Administrative Reform Minister, stressed the need to have a sense of speed in vitalizing the southernmost Japan prefecture, in talks with Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki on Saturday.
Meeting the governor at the prefectural government’s office building in Naha, the capital of Okinawa, Kono also said, “We must work together to further heighten the prefecture’s advantage of being located close to other Asian nations.”
Tamaki said that the people of Okinawa have shown their opposition to the central government’s plan to relocate the US Marine Corps’ Futenma air station in Ginowan, Okinawa, to the Henoko coastal district in Nago, another city in Okinawa, through the 2018 gubernatorial election and a prefectural referendum conducted last year.
“We want the central government to respond sincerely to dialogue with Okinawa” on the base relocation issue, the governor said.
Kono did not go beyond saying that he will make an effort to support Okinawa under the tutelage of local residents, as his job is to provide support in domestic affairs.
The minister told reporters following the meeting, “It is important that we develop the (local) economy, after giving thoughts to affairs related to the (US military) bases.”
Tamaki demands that the Futenma base be moved out of Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of US military installations in Japan.
The current relocation plan is based on a Japan-US accord.