Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Japan's PM set for breakthrough on controversial US base
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Dec 25, 2013

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks set to win approval from Okinawa this week for the long-stalled relocation of a US military base after a meeting Wednesday with the island's pugnacious governor.

A deal with Okinawa would end a long-running dispute that has been a source of friction with Washington and also mark a significant achievement for Abe, who has sought closer US ties amid a simmering territorial row with China.

Abe pledged an unheralded cash bonanza for the archipelago, in the form of stimulus spending that commentators say could help persuade governor Hirokazu Nakaima to drop his longstanding opposition to construction of a new airbase.

"You presented surprisingly impressive proposals. I express my heartfelt appreciation as the representative of Okinawa's 1.4 million people," the governor told Abe.

Abe told Nakaima he would set aside at least 300 billion yen ($2.9 billion) for Okinawa's economic stimulus budget every year until fiscal 2021.

The package of proposals also includes halting the operations of the Futenma airbase within five years and the early return of the land.

The local politician said he would make a formal decision by Friday on whether to approve the government's plan to relocate the airbase on the coast.

"I think we will have a good New Year's Day," he told reporters, looking set to give it his blessing.

Abe also told the governor: "The government will do anything possible."

The premier also said Tokyo and Washington had reached agreement on negotiating an environmental stewardship framework which would supplement the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

"This framework will help guide our activities going forward related to our shared goal of reducing impact to Japan's precious natural landscape as we continue to conduct operations that provide for the common defense of Japan," said US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

"This is yet another step we are taking together in order to update and modernize our alliance to ensure it is able to meet the security challenges of the 21st century," he said in a statement.

Nakaima's approval would mark a breakthrough in Japan-US efforts to follow through on an original 1996 agreement to shut the Futenma airbase, which is in a densely-populated urban area.

The United States reaffirmed in 2006 it would re-site the base on the coast, but the move has been stymied by opposition throughout Okinawa, which feels overburdened by its outsized share of the American military presence in Japan.

"Reducing the burden (of the US military presence) on Okinawa is one of the most significant challenges for the government, while it is extremely important for the US-Japan alliance," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

Campaigners criticise the choice of the planned new site, in Nago, saying it is home to a rare sea mammal called the dugong and the landfill required would badly affect its habitat.

With around half of the 47,000 US service personnel in Japan based in Okinawa, the strategically-situated island chain is a crucial part of the US-Japan security alliance, despite local hostility to the military presence.

Japan has sought to enhance military cooperation with the US amid simmering tensions with Beijing over the sovereignty of a group of islands in the East China Sea.


Related Links
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Mao fans bow before gold image of Communist China's founder
Shaoshan, China (AFP) Dec 25, 2013
Thousands of admirers of Communist China's founder Mao Zedong flocked to his home town Wednesday to bow before his graven image - including one statue of solid gold - before his 120th birth anniversary. Pilgrims from across the country lit firecrackers and offered flowers in Shaoshan, where Mao was born 120 years ago Thursday, to celebrate a man blamed for tens of millions of deaths but wi ... read more

Will the Moon be carved-up?

NASA Releases New Earthrise Simulation Video

Most Chang'e-3 science tools activated

China's Lunar Lander May Provide Additional Science for NASA Spacecraft

Mars rover Curiosity gets software upgrade, improved capabilities

Curiosity Team Upgrades Software, Checks Wheel Wear

Opportunity Communications Remain Slow Due To Odyssey Issues

New Views of Mars from Sediment Mineralogy

Only lawyers profit as tech giants go to war over patents

Working With NASA On The Space Structures Of The Future

Sierra Nevada Completes CCDev2, Begins Dream Chaser Flight Test Program

Russia's Putin pledges $1.5 billion for basic science research

China launches communications satellite for Bolivia

China's moon rover continues lunar survey after photographing lander

China's Yutu "naps", awakens and explores

Deep space monitoring station abroad imperative

Spacewalk ends, ISS fix a success

ISS Crew Set for Tuesday Pump Replacement Spacewalk

Astronauts remove faulty ammonia pump during first spacewalk after ISS coolant system goes wrong

No early Christmas? Spacesuit issue delays second spacewalk to fix ISS cooling system

Orbital Launches Completes 40th Consecutive Successful Suborbital Rocket For NASA

NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for InSight Mission

Argentina successfully launches research rocket

Gaia secured inside fairing

Using an Atmosphere to Weigh a Planet

Gaia Mission Could Help Map Exoplanets

First detection of a predicted unseen exoplanet

Astronomers solve temperature mystery of planetary atmospheres

Europe's Gaia telescope detaches from Fregat-MT upper stage

Sailing satellites into safe retirement

Researchers Design First Battery-Powered Invisibility Cloaking Device

'Macrocells' influence corrosion rate of submerged marine concrete structures

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement