18 Jan 2012

Japan's defense minister calls for construction of Okinawa facility

10:48 am on 18 January 2012

Japan's new defense minister says that construction of a military facility that is crucial to the Guam buildup should begin this year - if the people of Okinawa accept the project.

Guam's Pacific Daily News says this is one of the first times that Japanese leaders have put a timeline on construction of the Futenma replacement facility.

The new facility is needed to absorb air operations from the Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, Okinawa, which the U.S. military plans to dissolve after decades of public objection.

When Futenma closes, the military will move about 8,000 Marines to Guam, spurring the much-debated buildup.

Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka said on Japanese public television, the project can't move forward without acceptance by the people of Okinawa.