Pressure on the Tokyo seems to have stepped up as Washington has told the capital that work on reclaiming land for a U.S. military base to be relocated should be allowed unrestricted by Okinawa prefecture, an action that seems to put pressure on the Governor Hirokazu Nakaima of Okinawa. Nakaima is set to decide on the central government’s application for landfill work needed for the relocation of the Marines’ Futenma Air Station from Ginowan to Henoko area in Nago.
Washington is worried that delays in relocating the site may rise if Nakaima puts conditions for the work to be approved and would threaten to ruin the U.S. realignment of forces with the current cut on their defense budgets, but more support for Okinawa in hosting the U.S. military facilities were promised, should an unrestricted approval be given, said some sources on U.S.–Japan relations.
Nakaima, who has been very vocal in moving Futenma out of their jurisdiction, has a tough decision to make as the U.S. insists on using the base while locals are opposed to moving it within the prefecture. While awaiting the governor’s decision, some analysts have predicted that he would request for a review on the current Japan-U.S. Status of Force Agreement or probably have the Marines’ deployed elsewhere tentatively.
[via Global Post]