Japan

New Okinawa governor urges government to move U.S. base out of prefecture

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New Okinawa Gov Denny Tamaki said Tuesday he will stick to his predecessor's policy of seeking to move a major U.S. military base out of the southern island prefecture.

During a meeting in Naha with Mitsuhiro Miyakoshi, who became minister in charge of Okinawa's affairs in last week's cabinet reshuffle, Tamaki reiterated his opposition to the central government's plan to relocate U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from a crowded residential area of Ginowan to the Henoko coastal district of Nago.

The governor handed a request to the minister demanding Tokyo and Washington move the base to somewhere outside Okinawa and return its land.

He also called for a drastic revision of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement and a retraction of the deployment of MV-22 Osprey aircraft at Futenma.

It was Tamaki's first meeting with a member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet. The meeting was held after a memorial ceremony for Tamaki's predecessor Takeshi Onaga, who died in office in late August.

In the gubernatorial election on Sept 30, Tamaki, whose father was a member of the U.S. military, beat his main rival who was backed by Abe's Liberal Democratic Party.

© KYODO

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