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Hatoyama Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 11 (December 18, 2009)

Yukio Hatoyama's "Yu-Ai" -- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister HatoyamaProfile Japanese

"My feelings toward Futenma"

How much interest do you have in the issue of the relocation of Futenma Air Station? Media outlets are reporting on it every day and it seems that articles are flying about how my statements are inconsistent or how I have no decisiveness. However, I believe that the most important thing is how the government will come to a conclusion that is in the national interest.

Considering the dangers that Futenma Air Station presents, I am fully aware that no time should be lost in finding a relocation site. I am also aware that former governments spent 13 years carefully considering each possible relocation site and finally decided on Henoko.

I have been consistent on the following three points regarding this issue.
1.The Japan-US alliance is the foundation of Japan's security and I am well aware of the gravity that the agreement between Japan and the United States carries.
2.I am also aware of the gravity of our campaign argument that led to the change in government; that relocating the base outside Okinawa Prefecture or even outside Japan is desirable.
3.The positions of the Social Democratic Party and the People's New Party must be respected in order to sustain the coalition government that was established to answer to the people's mandate.

We must find a solution that honors these three points. This may prove to be something as difficult as threading a rope through the eye of a needle. But I will not give up.

Many people argue that we should quickly decide on Henoko because Henoko was the location agreed upon between Japan and the United States during the previous administrations. This also must have been what the United States strongly hoped for. However, we must think carefully of the implications it would have on national politics and the feelings of the people in Okinawa if we were to force a decision to go ahead with Henoko now. It is easily foreseeable that as a result of such a decision, the completion of the relocation will be further delayed. This cannot be what the United States desires either.

Therefore, while allocating a budget for the realignment of US forces in Japan and moving forward with environmental impact assessments, the new government will earnestly reconsider a relocation site for Futenma Air Station over the span of several months.

Just saying Henoko is no good will not lead to a decision on a relocation site and will result in Futenma Air Station being fixed as it is. If there should be another accident as there was in the past, the damage may be irreparable. I have no intention of irresponsibly postponing the decision nor would the situations in both Japan and the United States allow this.

The three parties will toil and sweat to decide on a relocation site for Futenma Air Station that would be acceptable, if not completely satisfactory, to both the United States and the people of Okinawa, and, by doing so, we will make sure that the completion of the relocation will not be further delayed. I believe that a solution that fulfills these conditions will be in the national interests of both Japan and the United States. Next year marks a milestone: the 50th anniversary of the Japan-US alliance. I have conviction that it will be a year in which Japan-US relations show a further deepening, overcoming the issue of Futenma.

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General Editor: Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama
Chief Editor: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yorihisa Matsuno
Publication: Cabinet Public Relations Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968, Japan

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