By Kyoko Hasegawa, Agence France-Presse
TOKYO, Japan – Shinzo Abe’s right-hand man and the governor of Okinawa remained apart in a lingering row over the construction of a US air base at a meeting Sunday ahead of the Japanese premier’s visit to Washington later this month.
The base’s construction, first mooted in 1996, has been stymied by local opposition from islanders who say they bear a disproportionate burden in hosting more than half of the 47,000 US service personnel stationed in Japan.
In the latest twist in the two-decade row, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told Governor Takeshi Onaga: “We hope to get your understanding on the plan… for maintaining the deterrent power of the Japan-US alliance.”
However, the Okinawan governor countered that while he understood the importance of the alliance with the US, any national security plan must have the Japanese people’s support.
“Okinawa never voluntarily offered (land) for bases…
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