自民県連転換 辺野古移設へ環境整備を急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun November 30, 2013
Step up efforts to pave way for Futenma base relocation plan
自民県連転換 辺野古移設へ環境整備を急げ(11月29日付・読売社説)

An important step has been taken to resolve the issue of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture, which was left pending for a long time.

The step was a decision by a group of Liberal Democratic Party members of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly to approve the station’s relocation to the Henoko district in Nago after reversing its stance of pushing for relocation outside the prefecture. Five LDP Diet members belonging to the prefectural party chapter had earlier shifted their stance to back the Henoko relocation plan. The chapter will soon make a formal decision on its relocation approval policy.

Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima is scheduled to decide in December whether to approve a request made by the central government for a land reclamation project in public waters necessary to achieve the Henoko relocation plan.

If the plan falls through, it is highly likely to solidify the status quo, in which the danger posed by the Futenma base being located in a residential area will continue for a long period. Behind the prefectural chapter’s about-face could be its realistic judgment to avoid the worst-case scenario.

The policy shift by the LDP’s prefectural chapter, which backs the governor as the ruling party in the prefectural assembly, is expected to push the governor to make a proactive decision on the relocation issue.

The government and ruling parties must continue such efforts as urging New Komeito’s Okinawa prefectural headquarters to reverse its stance of opposing the Henoko relocation plan as they try to obtain approval from a wider spectrum of local people.

Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine has submitted a letter of opinions to the Okinawa prefectural government, in which he argues against the reclamation plan, saying environment conservation measures are insufficient.

In addition to Inamine, two other politicians who both endorse the Futenma relocation plan have announced their candidacy for the Nago mayoral election set for January. Like the past four mayoral elections, the biggest issue is likely to be the relocation.

Security a matter of state

In the first place, national security should not be influenced by the outcome of a local election. Although it is necessary to give due consideration to the will of local residents, the central government should be primarily responsible for security policies based on a comprehensive view.

The mayor is not authorized to refuse the relocation plan, but to promote the plan smoothly, it is desirable to obtain the mayor’s approval. The LDP should step up efforts to make the two pro-relocation candidates to form an alliance and have just one run.

The government, for its part, needs to make all-out efforts to have Nakaima give reclamation the green light before the election.

It is essential to accelerate the efforts to decrease the prefecture’s burden for hosting the U.S. military.

The Japanese and U.S. governments will soon lift a ban on partial fishing operations in the waters used by the U.S. military for training. It is also important to steadily expand training areas for the new U.S. Osprey transport aircraft outside Okinawa Prefecture.

If the Futenma relocation plan gets moving, it will give momentum to the transfer of U.S. marines in Okinawa Prefecture to Guam and the return of U.S. military facilities to Japan.

Efforts must also be made to promote prefectural development.

The Cabinet Office has asked for a budgetary allocation of ¥340.8 billion for fiscal 2014, up 13 percent over the current fiscal year. The government should think hard to work out more effective local revitalization policies, such as establishing national strategy special zones and effective utilization of U.S. base sites.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 29, 2013)
(2013年11月29日01時32分 読売新聞)

srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク



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