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50 Years On: Okinawa Chief Wants Dialogue with Central Govt on Base Issue

50 Years On: Okinawa Chief Wants Dialogue with Central Govt on Base Issue

   Naha, Okinawa Pref., May 9 (Jiji Press)--Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki renewed his demand Monday that the central government set up a forum to discuss with local residents in the southernmost Japan prefecture on the issue of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air base in Ginowan to the Henoko coastal district in another Okinawa city of Nago.
   "I see a problem in the central government's practice of making decisions on matters of diplomacy and national security only through intergovernmental consultations," Tamaki said in an interview with the media ahead of the 50th anniversary Sunday of Okinawa's return to Japanese rule from U.S. occupation.
   "If it understands that (U.S.) base problems hamper regional development, the government should sincerely listen to the opinions of municipalities and prefectures (involved)," he went on to say. "I will stick to the policy of finding a solution through dialogue with the government."
   On the Okinawa situation after the 1972 reversion, Tamaki said the prefecture's tourism, and information and communications-related industries have grown thanks to the development of various forms of social infrastructure under a series of state-funded programs.
   "But there is still a long way to go to create a self-sustaining economy, as per capita income in Okinawa remains the lowest among the country's 47 prefectures," he noted.

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