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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Asian Beauty:Natsuko.S | Nago mayor to discuss air base plan with govt

The mayor of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, said Wednesday he would discuss with the central government plans to relocate a U.S. military installation to waters off his city before the plans are made official to decide whether the plan is acceptable.
Nago Mayor Tateo Kishimoto said after talks with Defense Agency Director General Fukushiro Nukaga earlier the same day that he intends to discuss the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station to coastal areas near Camp Schwab in and near Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, over information in the interim report agreed between the Japanese and U.S. governments.
"Before the final report is compiled, I need to thoroughly investigate whether the city can accept the relocation plan," Kishimoto told reporters.
During talks with Nukaga, Kishimoto reportedly said: "We can't accept the plan as it is now, but it doesn't mean we would reject the plan. We don't categorically oppose the plan. We want the central government to explain it well."
In particular, Kishimoto pointed out the following problems:
-- There is the possibility of noise increasing because a runway would be built close to residential areas and the flight route would be above those areas.
-- The size of the new installation would increase in length from 1,500 meters to 1,800 meters.
-- There is the possibility that another base could be built on the future air base's apron.
In response, Nukaga said, "Including technical matters, I would like the central government to explain as soon as possible."
"I'd like to dispel concerns of [Nago] residents," he added.


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