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Secretary Rumsfeld Okinawa Governor Meeting

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
November 16, 2003
Governor:  [Through Interpreter]  So first of all I would like to [inaudible] Secretary [inaudible].  I understand that this is the first time in 15 years that the Secretary of Defense visits Okinawa.  I think that Secretary Cheney [inaudible].  So it is a great privilege that you are able to come to Okinawa to see [inaudible] and bases here in Okinawa.


            I also understand you are coming to our facilities and to visit U.S. bases.  And I assume inspecting the U.S. bases that you will understand the [inaudible]. 


            So once again I would like to [greeting] and express my appreciation for the Secretary coming to Okinawa and I'd like to welcome you and after your remarks I would like to present the petition [inaudible].


            Thank you very much.


            Rumsfeld:  Thank you, Governor.  Mr. Speaker, members of your delegation.  I am very pleased to be here.  It is my first visit to Okinawa. 


            I should introduce our delegation.  At the far end, Mr. Larry DiRita and Mr. Peter Rodman, Assistant Secretary of Defense, Mr. Richard Lawless, and of course you know our distinguished Ambassador, Howard Baker.


            As a matter of fact, Ambassador Baker and I had a visit about his recent visit with you so I had an opportunity to learn much about Okinawa and the situation here.


            I have always found it helpful to see things first-hand, so my visit here today and the opportunity to see the troops and the bases has been most helpful.



            Governor:  I would like to get you to explain the [inaudible] of the items that are [on the petition], but I won't be able to go over [inaudible].  We don't have the time to.  And I understand the defense and the national security is actually initiated [inaudible].  I understand this importance and as Governor of Okinawa Prefecture I would like to mention about [inaudible] of the U.S. military [inaudible].  [It has been] 58 years since the U.S. bases on Okinawa [inaudible].


            [Inaudible] Okinawa became part of Japan it has been 31 years, but still we have these troops on U.S. bases that exist in Okinawa and [75] percent of the U.S. forces are concentrated in [inaudible].  [Inaudible] U.S. bases of course [inaudible] existed here in Okinawa and this may be affecting Okinawa economy as well. 


            But there are many problems that arise from the U.S. facilities and many of the Okinawan people are very concerned about this as well.  If I could explain just briefly each item of the petition.


            The first item is a result through the [inaudible] implementation of the agreement by SACO [US-Japan Special Action Committee]] and of course the SACO was agreed between the U.S. and Japan, both governments. Even though the SACO final report finish and also agreed upon [inaudible] from the bases, we still have to host [70] percent of the U.S. bases in Okinawa.


            Second, with regards to the relocation of Futenma Air Station.  Futenma Air Station this afternoon, and you can see that Futenma is located in the central part of the city.  This is an obstacle to the millions of people who live in the surrounding area.


            Perhaps the relocation of Futenma Air Station to Hanako up in north of Okinawa is a very difficult decision for me and for Okinawa Prefecture government.  The Okinawa Prefecture government presents the [indication] and request to the Japanese government.  An indication of the [inaudible] years of 15 years that we are requesting for the Japanese government, and also setting the new base as joint use for the air facilities or military/commercial aircraft.  And also we are addressing that to the Japanese government as well.


            We would like to really ask for the cooperation of the Japanese government and the U.S. government so that we can realize the earliest practical time.


            Number three regards to the relocation of training and exercises by U.S. Marine Corps to other than Okinawa, as well as the force reduction of the U.S. forces stationed on Okinawa.  So many of the Okinawan people feel that it is because they are living in such a small area, they hope that they can be relocated to other place, other than Okinawa.


            Okinawa Prefecture government would like to request for the reduction and realignment and also the relocation and training of the U.S. forces.  [Inaudible] Island [inaudible] Status of Forces Agreement.


            So for this reason of the Status of Force Agreement, myself I have been shuttling throughout the nation for the, asking for the support from the other prefecture governments and [authorities].  The Okinawa Prefecture government is sending request to the Japanese government for the presidential review of the Status of Forces Agreement because unless we revise it we cannot resolve the environmental issues and also human rights issues.


            The fifth item is regards to the prevention of incidents and accidents that are associated with operational security, American activities and military personnel and their family members, as well as [inaudible], their discipline and [inaudible] personnel.


            [Inaudible] incidents and accidents caused by military personnel is still occurring in Okinawa as the Okinawa Prefecture government, we feel that we have to get the cooperation from the local level, local community people as well, in order to prevent these incidents and accidents.


            The sixth item is regarding banning the use of the new low frequency sonar made for underwater detection by U.S. Navy in the sea along Japan.  And that this frequency, low frequency sonar is used only around the Japan Sea.  It is unfair.  We feel that they should ban not just to be used on the Japan Sea area, but should be banned all at once.


            Number seven is regards to the prevention measures against aircraft noise.  I have attached a report, Mr. Secretary, and some additional information that you can review later on, but on this aircraft noise is increasing in Okinawa around the bases.  So people who are living around the bases actually are having a very difficult time because of the aircraft noise.  So healthy living environment is very important for the people who are living in the communities.  We would like to [inaudible] and the mitigation noises and implementing measures against this noise.


            Those are the seven items of the petition I just went over.


            Mr. Secretary, this is your first visit to Okinawa.  I hate to be making about these difficult issues on your first day, but I hope you understand the difficulty that people of Okinawa face [inaudible].


            Rumsfeld:  Thank you very much, Governor.


            I am involved with the United States government in the process of reviewing our base structure and our force structure around the world, and needless to say I'm not in a position to make specific proposals.  We're at kind of the middle stage of our review.


            I heard Japan's national perspective on the situation here in Okinawa during my visit in Tokyo with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister and the Minister of State for Defense, and I am here in Okinawa as I indicated earlier to listen and to learn and to see first-hand what's taking place here.

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