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Cablegate: Okinawa Mayors Finally Realize Base Realignment Is Real

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR PGOV PREL PINS JA
SUBJECT: OKINAWA MAYORS FINALLY REALIZE BASE REALIGNMENT IS REAL

(SBU) Some good news from Okinawa. Consul General had drinks
September 26 with two key Okinawa Mayors, Gibu of Kin Town (Camp
Hansen) and Miyagi of Kadena Town (Kadena Air Base). They both
were very excited about the recent visit to Okinawa of Guam
Governor Felix Camacho. They stressed that Governor Camacho's
visit, combined with the visit to Guam several weeks ago by most
of the base-hosting mayors from the central area of Okinawa, had
galvanized the Okinawa mayors. In short, they now finally
realize that the U.S. is serious about the realignment plan in
Okinawa, and that the return of most of the base land south of
Kadena is real. Until the visit, most had been thinking the
realignment plan for consolidation/return of facilities was
"just another plan" much like what they have seen many times in
the past thirty years -- a nice idea but not something to
actually bank on as a mayor planning for the city's future.

(SBU) Mayor Miyagi noted that with their visit to Guam, and
following discussions with Governor Camacho at a dinner
September 14 at the Consul General's residence attended by six
of the central area mayors, the mayors have changed their view.
They now understand that Guam fully welcomes the move of 8,000
Marines from Okinawa, and that the USG is moving forward with
its own planning and funding for developing necessary facilities
in Guam. They also now realize that consolidation is just a few
years away, so they must plan now to deal with issues such as
changes to their tax base with the loss of base land rents,
employment issues, land use planning, and transition subsidies
from Tokyo. The central mayors' association now is beginning to
do so.

(SBU) Mayor Miyagi told the Consul General the atmosphere has
changed dramatically with Governor Camacho's visit to Okinawa.
Consul General has been telling people here repeatedly of course
that we are serious about the major consolidation/return of
land, as part of the overall realignment package, conditioned on
the successful move of MCAS Futenma to the Futenma Replacement
Facility (FRF) and the successful move of 8,000 Marines to Guam.
But hearing directly from Governor Camacho and seeing with
their own eyes what is happening in Guam seems to have brought
it home to them. This is a good thing. Mayor Miyagi also noted
this is greatly increasing pressure on Okinawa Governor Nakaima
to cooperate with Tokyo on the FRF Environmental Impact
Assessment, since they all understand that the
consolidation/return of land and the move to Guam will not take
place without the successful move of MCAS Futenma to FRF.

MAHER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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