On November 1, Iha and Nakaima held a public debate, hosted by Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times, two Okinawan newspapers. Below is a summarized translation of part of the debate related to the base issue.
Moderator to Nakaima: What will you do if the government asks your consent to reclamation of a public water area?On Novemer 5, another public debate was held in Naha. Below was the video clip of part of the debate, from Ryukyu Shimpo website.
Nakaima: That question has too many "if"s. The previous "V-shape plan" went through an environment impact assessment, and it had reached a final stage for approval. The government needs to attach assessment documents to a request for reclamation approval. But I don't know what the government is going to do now. For now, options to build a base within Okinawa are not in my mind. I will call this my answer to your question.
Moderator to Iha: How are you going to get the government to accept a base to be moved out of the prefecture and the country?
Iha: If I am elected, I will be firm on my opposition against the plan to build in Henoko, and make that a prefectural policy. I won't oscillate about this, and will tell the government in a convincing way that I will not approve reclamation. I will hold Japanese and U.S. governments accountable for the U.S. plan to move Okinawa's Marines to Guam, and confirm that the troops scheduled to move there do include those of Futenma's helicopter unit. It is not necessary to build a "replacement" base in Henoko.
Nakaima to Iha: You are objecting a new base within Okinawa, and closure and return of Futenma airbase. This may lead to a prolonged use of Futenma base. Won't you ask for the base to be relocated outside of Okinawa?
Iha: The conservative government of Okinawa was not proactive in solving the Futenma problem. There is a U.S. plan to move 10,600 Okinawa Marines to Guam, and even Japanese government is paying for it. It is important that this plan is carried through, and we do not necessarily have to create a new move to relocate the base to another part of Japan.
Iha to Nakaima: You are asking for Futenma to be moved outside Okinawa, but you have been spearheading the move to build a base within the prefecture. How are you going to explain this?
Nakaima: I have been working for resolution of the base problem and the Futenma issue, by visiting the U.S. twice, talking to the LDP and DPJ's leaders, including Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Defense Minister, and speaking at the governors' meeting. If you only hold the prefecture and the state responsible in a philosophical way, there will be no solution.
Iha to Nakaima: At another debate, you stated that you were in the position of accepting the base conditionally. Does that mean that with necessary conditions met, the plan to build a base in Okinawa is inevitable?
Nakaima: There are no options in my head to build within the prefecture. Nago City (where Henoko is) was in the position to accept the base conditionally, and it was a natural solution to relocate to Henoko, in order to eliminate the danger of Futenma base. However, Nago's mayoral election changed the situation. Since Hatoyama came to say the government will build in Henoko, I have been expressing my disappointment with the government and telling them that it would be difficult to do so.