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Friday, December 17, 2010

Kan met with angry cans 菅、怒りの空きカンに迎えられる

Photo from NHK - 400-500 people gathered around the Prefectural Hall to protest against Prime Minister Kan's visit to convince Okinawa to accept another US military base. The yesllow placards read, "Rescind." Okinawa residents are demanding the Japanese and US governments to rescind the agreement to build a new Marine Corps base in Henoko.

See the Okinawa Times video of the protest at the Okinawa Prefectural Hall on the afternoon of December 17 by Okinawans who demand the US and Japanese governments to rescind their plan to build a new milibary base in Henoko.

Yes, there are lots of angry cans that met Kan's visit.

See link:

Related news below.

NHK World

Kan, Okinawa governor remain apart on base issue

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan and the governor of Okinawa Prefecture have failed to narrow their differences over the government's plan to relocate a US marine base within the southern island prefecture.

Kan began his first visit to Okinawa as prime minister on Friday, and met Governor Hirokazu Nakaima in Naha City. Part of the meeting was opened to media.

Japan and the United States agreed in May to relocate the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station now in Ginowan, Okinawa, to Nago, also in Okinawa.

Nakaima said relocating the base within Okinawa has become extremely difficult since Nago's January mayoral election, which was won by a candidate opposed to the relocation.

Nakaima also spoke about his reelection in Okinawa's recent gubernatorial election, in which he promised voters that he would seek relocation outside Okinawa. He asked Kan to face up to reality and help realize the wishes of his prefecture's people.

Kan noted that moving the facility outside Okinawa or even outside Japan was a 2009 election pledge by then Democratic Party leader Yukio Hatoyama and the party. Kan said that as prime minister and current leader of the party, he feels very sorry for its failure to honor the pledge.

But he said a transfer to Henoko, in Nago, is a better option for Okinawa, if not the best, considering the current danger posed by the base and in terms of feasibility. He asked Nakaima to reconsider his stance, taking into account recent international developments.

Kan also suggested that his government will positively consider requests by Okinawa for a new law to stimulate the prefecture's economy and for tax grants with no conditions attached to their usage.

After the meeting, Kan told reporters that he plans to visit key areas for Okinawa's development and other areas related to US bases, so that he can fully grasp the local situation.

Kan is scheduled to stay in the prefecture through Saturday.

Fri, 17 Dec 2010 18:56:00 +0900(JST)

(JST: UTC+9hrs.)

Kyodo News
Kan visits Okinawa to discuss relocation of U.S. Marine base

Friday 17th December, 01:00 PM JST


Prime Minister Naoto Kan visited Okinawa Prefecture Friday amid no signs of progress in easing tensions with local authorities over the relocation of a U.S. military base.

Securing Okinawa’s acceptance of a plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station within the prefecture, agreed on earlier this year by Tokyo and Washington, is one of the many problems facing Kan, who is now struggling with low approval ratings for his six-month-old government.

His itinerary for the two-day visit includes talks with Okinawa Gov Hirokazu Nakaima and a visit to the Futenma air base.

The governor, who has opposed the relocation plan, was reelected for a four-year term in late November.

Japan and the United States agreed in May to relocate the Futenma air base in a densely populated area of Ginowan to a less crowded part of the southwestern island.

The deal has met with strong opposition because Kan’s predecessor, Yukio Hatoyama, had raised hopes that the base would be moved out of the prefecture.

Kan has said the purpose of his visit is to learn about the real situation in the prefecture, which hosts the bulk of U.S. military forces stationed in Japan under a bilateral security accord.

It will be Kan’s second visit to Okinawa since he became prime minister in June. The last time was to attend a ceremony to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa, in which over 200,000 soldiers and civilians died in the closing days of World War II.

In November, Kan promised U.S. President Barack Obama during talks in Yokohama that Japan would keep to the bilateral agreement and that he would make the utmost efforts to relocate the base to a coastal area in Nago.

However, Kan told reporters in early December that Japan will not put a deadline on settling the relocation issue, despite his plan to visit the United States next spring to release a joint statement with Obama on the two countries’ long-standing security alliance.

The latest visit came after his Cabinet approved new national defense guidelines in the morning. In the guidelines, the government says among other things that China’s military buildup has become a matter of concern for the region and the international community and that for the peace and safety of Japan, its alliance with the United States is ‘‘indispensable.’’

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