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    The arguments over the relocation of US military facilities now housed in Futenma are still developing. Prime Minister Koizumi met with Japan Defense Agency head Fukushiro Nukaga this morning, and talks with the US are slated to begin the day after tomorrow:

    The main focus of the talks will be the issue of who will pay for the relocation of Marines currently stationed in Okinawa to Guam. The US has asked Japan to pay 75% of the US $10 billion tab. Japan, the relevant cabinet ministers having agreed that they “cannot accept” such a burden, plans to negotiate for a lower percentage.

    Of course, the price tag may be the focus of Thursday’s talks, but it’s not the only bone of contention:

    Yoshikazu Shimabukuro, Mayor of Nago City in Okinawa Prefecture, the planned site to which certain US military installations are to be relocated from Futenma [USMC] Air Station as part of negotiations over restructuring, held a meeting in Naha with Okinawa Governor Keiichi Inamine on 21 March. The Mayor expressed his intention to oppose a new, slightly tweaked proposal by LDP Policy Committee Chairman Hidenao Nakagawa; the new plan would move the facilities to the shoreline of Camp Schwab.

    Governor Inamine affirmed his own rejection of the tweaked proposal and his support for the Mayor’s stance: “We will persevere together.”

    At the meeting, the Mayor emphasized that he would not consider negotiations unless there was a large-scale shift of the planned site of relocation offshore in the “shoreline proposal”: “(Area residents have) acceded to (an existing plan, which would create a facility off the Henoko district of Nago), a variation on the ‘offshore proposal.'”

    A few months back, residents weren’t keen about any plan at all. The federal government continues to state that it will not accommodate more than minor adjustments to the plan and will keep talking to residents until it gets them to accept it.

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