17 Years Later, Okinawa OKs Relocation of US Base
And locals aren't too happy about it
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2013 5:56 AM CST
Updated Dec 27, 2013 7:56 AM CST
In this Aug. 16, 2012 photo, a C-130 transport plane takes off from the U.S. Marine Corps base in Futenma.   (AP Photo/Greg Baker)

(Newser) – As the AFP reports, it's been "a decades-long source of friction" between Japan and the US: More than 17 years ago, Tokyo and Washington decided to move the US Marine Corps base in Futenma out of the densely populated urban area. Today, the governor of Okinawa finally gave the go-ahead for landfill work to begin on the island's coast, where the new facilities will be built. The Washington Post reports that Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima's OK ends an impasse born out of local opposition; PM Shinzo Abe ultimately dangled a big carrot: a spending package that would see Japan's poorest prefecture get $2.9 billion a year through fiscal 2021.

Still, the AP notes Nakaima later told a news conference that he would continue pressing to move the Futenma troops off Okinawa entirely, saying "my thinking remains it would be fastest to relocate outside (Okinawa) prefecture to a place where there is already an airport." It's expected that it will take about a decade to build the new base, which will feature two runways that measure more than a mile in length each. But the approval could still run up against court challenges and protests. Says a politician in the city where the new base will be constructed, "Residents who are opposed will surely resort to the use of force, such as blocking roads to stop this from happening."

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Dec 27, 2013 9:50 PM CST
Move them where the action is--Senkaku Islands
Dec 27, 2013 4:21 PM CST
I was stationed there for almost a year during the early 90's. We didn't have any heat during the winter months. They always subject the Marines to the worst living conditions. Kadena Air Force Base several miles away was like a gated community with condos. The difference was like comparing Compton to Beverly Hills. Give the Marines a better base!!
Dec 27, 2013 4:07 PM CST
Who are the Pentagon idiots who approved this plan? We need to close all bases in Japan. News Flash! American nuked the Nips and won the war 68 years ago. Close this base and DO NOT rebuild it ANYWHERE. We need to shut our Imperial War Machine DOWN. Remove our troops and sailors PERMANENTLY from all US occupied nations. South Korea, Germany, Italy, Iceland, Canada, Britain, Afghanistan, Congo, Kuwait, Pakistan, Panama, Cuba and 100 other nations. Destroy the Military Industrial Complex. It is bleeding the nation and world.