Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima on Thursday reiterated his call for a key U.S. Marine base to be relocated outside of the prefecture despite a Japan-U.S. agreement to transfer it within Okinawa.
"The implementation of a relocation plan that cannot obtain local consent is virtually impossible," Nakaima said in a statement issued after the foreign and defense chiefs of Japan and the United States held a "two-plus-two" security meeting in Tokyo.
A joint statement after the meeting said the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station to the city of Nago in northern Okinawa "is the only solution that addresses operational, political, financial and strategic concerns."
The planned relocation, which was reaffirmed by the Japanese and U.S. governments Thursday, has remained stalled due to fierce opposition from the local government and community in Japan's southernmost prefecture, which has long hosted the bulk of U.S. military forces in Japan.
The plan calls for the Futenma base to be relocated from a densely populated area to an offshore area within the prefecture, but local people want it moved elsewhere.