Written by SHARLA TORRE MONTVEL-COHEN
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
GUAM – This December could be a test of whether Tokyo can forge enough common ground with Okinawa to proceed with building a replacement air base for Futenma-based U.S. Marines in the prefecture -- an issue that continues to hinder troop realignment plans for Guam.
In an editorial yesterday, The Yomiuri Shimbun raises a potential opportunity for resolution. Okinawa's push for a bigger and more flexible economic development package from Japan's central government will swell towards December when the island's current 10-year program of economic subsidies is set to expire.
December is also when Tokyo plans to give Okinawa's governor the environmental impact report required for constructing the new base on the island's eastern coast. While Prime Minister Noda hopes to gain the governor's understanding and support for base relocation, The Yomiuri Shimbun suggests Okinawans should be made to understand that their desired subsidies are tied to their compliance with base construction plans.
The daily also suggests that the greater Japanese public, which is being forced to accept tax hikes and reduced public services in order to finance the country's post-triple disaster reconstruction efforts, will expect their central government to require that Okinawa sacrifice, too, by contributing to national security in the form of hosting the new base.
Read the full editorial here.
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