Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Okinawa on Sunday to attend a ceremony to mark the 68th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa at the Peace Memorial Park in Itoman where the bloody battle ended.
Later in the day, Abe will meet Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima in Naha to discuss the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma air base at Futenma to the Henoko coastal area of Nago.
Abe was last in Okinawa in February when he said he had come to rebuild trust with the Okinawan people, which he said had been lost during the three years that his Liberal Democratic Party had been out of power.
So far, Abe has failed to persuade Nakaima on the need to keep the Futenma base within the prefecture at Henoko.
Abe has said that his government would stick to the original agreement to move the base from Futenma to Henoko, which was reached in 2006 when the LDP was in power.
Nakaima’s longstanding view is that the Okinawan people want the base moved out of the prefecture and that successive governments in Tokyo have failed to respect the feelings of local residents.
More than half of the 47,000 U.S. troops stationed throughout Japan are based on Okinawa.