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The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
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Okinawa Governor Nakaima: an Irreparable Rift in Okinawa/Japan/US Relations Would Result From Forceful Construction of Henoko Base 仲井真沖縄知事: 辺野古基地の強行は沖縄・日米関係に修復不能の亀裂を残す

This is Okinawa's Governor Nakaima Hirokazu's speech at George Washington University on September 19, 2011 on the relocation of the Futenma Base and its implications for US-Japan-Okinawa relations.   The English version is followed by a Japanese summary, which appeared on the September 20 edition of the Ryukyu Shimpo. 仲井真弘多沖縄知事による9月19日ワシントンDCのジョージ・ワシントン大学での講演の英語版全文を紹介します。20日の琉球新報に掲載された講演要旨を英語版に続いて下方に貼り付けました。

Related news: 

Okinawa Governor denies a Japan-U.S. deal on U.S. military realignment package (link)

Okinawa Governor travels to the United States to demand the relocation of Futenma Air Station out of the prefecture (link)

Okinawa gov. reiterates demand to move U.S. base out of prefecture (link)
関連記事 「県外」譲らぬ知事、日米政府けん制 (沖縄タイムス) (link)

The Futenma Relocation Issue

September 19, 2011

 

Nakaima Hirokazu in Washington  

(photo from Okinawa Taimusu)

Introduction
1. Currently, there are three major issues that we are facing in Okinawa, concerning the US bases. The first issue is regarding the land area. As you may already know, the area of Okinawa is only 0.6% out of the overall national land area, and is also where approximately 74% of the facilities and areas designated for the exclusive use of US Forces are concentrated. This, as you can imagine, presents great obstacles to the further development of our prefecture. 
2. The second issue concerns the various challenges that stem from the bases. These include daily noise emissions from aircraft and other base operations, accidents associated with training and exercises, as well as incidents involving service members and other US military-related persons. These factors impact the lives of the Okinawan citizens in various ways. 
3. The third issue is regarding the Status of Forces Agreement, or the SOFA. We believe that the SOFA, which contains stipulations regarding the provision of facilities and areas for the US Forces and its operations, requires fundamental revisions. 
4. The partnership between Japan and the United States is vital and the bilateral security arrangement is essential. However, the concentration of the bases, facilities and areas in Okinawa is by far excessive. 
5. Today, allow me to offer my views on the realignment of US Forces on Okinawa. 
The Realignment of US Forces on Okinawa 
6. On June 21 of this year, both governments of Japan and the United States reconfirmed their commitments to the roadmap for Realignment Implementation concluded in 2006 and to the US-Japan Joint Statement of May 2010. 
7. The Roadmap contains provisions that are aimed to strengthen the alliance between the two nations and for the alleviation of the burden placed on the Okinawan people. 
8. Namely, the relocation of troops from Okinawa to Guam and the return of facilities and areas south of Kadena Air Base will lead to the considerable alleviation of burdens on the people of Okinawa, and the implementation of these are absolutely necessary. 
9. However, in regard to the Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF), the political situation within Okinawa has drastically changed following the change in the governing party, and the Henoko relocation plan has become difficult to carry out and would surely take a significant amount of time. 
The Current Situation Surrounding the MCAS Futenma Relocation Issues 
10. The Hatoyama Cabinet, which called for the relocation of MCAS Futenma at least out of the prefecture, was inaugurated in September of 2009. The three-party coalition of that administration agreed to also work toward  review of  US Forces realignment and the roles of US Forces and bases in Japan. 
11. These policy changes made by the Japanese government led to heightened expectations of the people of Okinawa to relocate the air station out of the prefecture. 
12. Politics on Okinawa have undergone drastic changes marked by a series of events. In January 2010, a candidate opposing the current Henoko plan was elected the new Nago City mayor; in February 2010, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly unanimously adopted a letter of opinion calling for the relocation of the MCAS Futenma outside of Okinawa or of Japan altogether; and in April of the same year, the Citizen's Rally took place, where leaders from all 41 municipalities from within the prefecture gathered to demand an out-of-prefecture relocation. 
13. The conclusion of the Joint Statement in May of last year, which agreed to relocate the air station to Henoko in Nago City, transformed the expectation of the Okinawan people into great disappointment. 
14. Because the government did not explain to the satisfaction of the Okinawan people why it decided to return to the Henoko plan,  calls to relocate Futenma outside of the prefecture became even stronger. 
15. At present, leaders of municipalities Okinawa-wide, as well as all members of the Prefectural Assembly, are opposed to any plan where the relocation would be within the prefecture. 
16. In November 2010, I was re-elected for a 2nd term as Governor, after campaigning on a platform that recognized that, under the political circumstances in Okinawa, a relocation plan that cannot garner the understanding of the citizens would be time-consuming and thus virtually impossible to implement. Therefore, I have been calling for an alternative plan to relocate the air station out of Okinawa (but within Japan), as it would be much speedier to carry out. 
The Reasons Behind Our Calls for Relocation Outside of Okinawa 
17. The Henoko relocation plan is opposed by the elected mayor of Nago City and the seats in the City's Assembly are held by a majority who are also against this plan. 
18. To build an air station off the coast of Henoko would take considerable time as it faces strong local opposition and would first require reclaiming land before the construction of runways. Environmental assessments and other aspects surrounding the construction of the facility would also prolong the relocation schedule. 
19. Moreover, reasons why Marine Corps assets of land, aviation, and logistics need to be concentrated on Okinawa and the roles that they play have not been provided. We also believe that alternative relocation sites in Japan other than Henoko have not been sufficiently examined.
If the Henoko Relocation Plan were to be Carried Out 
20. If the current plan to construct the FRF in Henoko were to be carried out against the will of local citizens, possibilities of an irreparable rift in the relationship between the people of Okinawa and the US Forces in the prefecture cannot be denied. This possible rise in strong resentment and protests within Okinawa against the bases may adversely affect the Japan-US Security Agreement. 
21. As a leader of a prefecture who is fully aware of the significance and the importance of the Japan-US Alliance, I have great concerns over such possibilities. 
If the Danger Factors of MCAS Futenma Remain 
22. The core of the issues surrounding the relocation of MCAS Futenma is to eliminate the dangers posed by this facility, and thus, its relocation and return at the earliest possible time is undoubtedly necessary. 
23. Some have described MCAS Futenma as a dangerous and defective facility. Surrounding the air station are densely populated communities with numerous private homes and schools, so for the base to remain as it and continue to present dangers, is not an acceptable option. Under such circumstances, it is virtually impossible to facilitate base operations in a stable environment. 
Conclusion
24. A relocation site outside of Okinawa prefecture, but within Japan, is the most logical way to speedily move forward on this issue, and in regard to the agreements concluded between Japan and the United States, we believe that the relocation plan of MCAS Futenma to Henoko must be revised.


日本語版

沖縄クエスチョン 知事スピーチ(2011/9/19)

はじめに
○ 沖縄の米軍基地に関し、現在問題となっている点は次の3点である。1点目は、国土面積の0・6%に過ぎない本県に在日米軍専用面積の約74%が集中し、本県の振興を図る上で大きな障害となっていること。
○ 2点目は、航空機等による日常的な騒音被害や演習に伴う事故、米軍人等による事件など、基地から派生する問題が県民生活に様々な影響を与えていること。
○ 3点目は、米軍基地の提供や運用等を定めた日米地位協定を、抜本的に見直す必要があること。
○ 私は、日米関係は重要であり、日米安全保障体制は必要と認識しているが、沖縄の基地負担は過重であると考えている。
○ 本日は、米軍再編と沖縄に係る私の考えを簡潔にお話させていただく。
米軍再編の沖縄に係る合意内容に対する私の考え
○ 去る6月21日、日米両政府は、2006年の再編ロードマップ及び昨年5月の日米共同発表で合意された米軍再編の項目について再確認している。
○ ロードマップには、日米同盟の強化と沖縄の負担軽減が盛り込まれており、評価できる内容も多く含まれている。
○ とりわけ「グアム移転」と「嘉手納より南の施設・区域の返還」は、目に見える形で日本における沖縄の基地負担軽減に繋がるものであり、確実に実施される必要がある。
○ しかし、普天間飛行場の代替施設については、日本政府の政権交代後、県内の状況が一変し、辺野古への移設は非常に厳しく、時間のかかるものとなっている。
普天間飛行場移設問題の現状
○ 2009年9月に最低でも県外と訴えていた鳩山内閣が発足し、三党連立政権は「米軍再編や在日米軍基地のあり方についても見直しの方向で臨む」ことで合意した。
○ このことは、県民に県外移設に対する期待を高めることとなった。
○ 2010年1月に、辺野古移設に反対する名護市長が誕生し、2月には国外・県外移設を求める県議会の意見書が全会一致で可決され、4月には県外移設を求める県民大会(県内41全市町村長が参加し訴えた)が開催されるなど、県内の状況は大きく変化していった。
○ こうした中、唐突に昨年5月、日米共同発表において名護市辺野古への移設が合意され、県民の期待は大きな失望に変わった。
○ 政府から「何故、辺野古に戻ったか」について、県民の納得いく説明がなされておらず。県外移設を求める声はむしろ強まっている。
○ 現在、沖縄県内41市町村の全首長及び沖縄県議会の全議員が県内移設に反対している状況。
○ 2010年11月、私は、こうした県内の状況を踏まえ、地元の理解が得られない県内移設案は時間がかかり、事実上不可能と考え、「県外移設(国内の他県)の方が早い」を公約に掲げ再選。
県外移設を求める理由
○ 辺野古移設案は、選挙で選ばれた地元の名護市長が反対しており、市議会議員も反対派が多数を占めている。
○ 辺野古は、多くの県民が反対している事、今から海を埋め立てて滑走路を作ることで、環境調査や工事の実施等のスケジュールを考えると相当長い時間がかかる。
○ 沖縄に海兵隊がまとまって存在しないといけない理由や海兵隊の役割等が明らかにされておらず、辺野古以外の日本国内の他の地域について、十分検討されたとは言えないと考えている。
辺野古移設案が強行された場合
○ 沖縄の状況を無視した辺野古への強行は、全県的な激しい基地反対運動に繋がり、日米安全保障体制に悪影響を及ぼしかねず、沖縄県民と沖縄の米軍との関係を決定的に悪化させる恐れも否定できない。
○ 日米同盟の意義と重要性を理解する者としては、そうした可能性を危惧せざるを得ない。
普天間飛行場の危険性が放置された場合
○ 普天間飛行場の移設問題の原点は、同飛行場の危険性の除去であり、一日も早い移設・返還の実現が必要。
○ 普天間飛行場は、危険かつ欠陥のある基地と言われている。また、周辺に住居や学校が密集する危険な状況にあり、基地の固定化はあってはならず、この状態で安定的に運用することは事実上無理である。
結論
○ 日本国内の他の都道府県への移設が、合理的かつ早期に課題を解決できる方策であると考えており、普天間飛行場の辺野古移設は見直すべきである。
以下日本語での要旨の報道。琉球新報2011年9月20日3面より。

Reprinted from http://peacephilosophyblog September 22, 2011.

 

Recommended citation: Nakaima Hirokazu, 'Okinawa Governor Nakaima: an Irreparable Rift in Okinawa/Japan/US Relations Would Result From Forceful Construction of Henoko Base 仲井真沖縄知事: 辺野古基地の強行は沖縄・日米関係に修復不能の亀裂を残す,' The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 39 No 2, September 26, 2011.

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Authors: For all articles by the author, click on author's name.   Nakaima Hirokazu