VII. Issue of United States forces' facilities and areas in Okinawa
Q: How does the Foreign Ministry comment on Okinawa Governor Masahide Ota's submission of a bill on U.S. bases in the prefecture of Okinawa? The Okinawa Governor yesterday submitted a bill to the assembly calling for a referendum on the future of the U.S. bases in Okinawa.
A: I have not seen the announcement you refer to. However, when President William Clinton of the United States of America visited Japan in April, Japan and the United States agreed on how to realign, reduce and consolidate the United States facilities and areas in Okinawa. Both Japan and the United States have been endeavoring to implement what was agreed during the visit, and both Governments have committed themselves to prepare the final conclusions on this by November. So, the Central Government is going to implement its commitment. At the same time, on the referendum, I do not know with what or how the Central Government should react. We understand that Okinawa Prefecture itself presented its own so-called action agenda for the reduction of United States bases -- especially, they intend to eliminate all the bases within the several years to come. But, we have the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and must abide by that commitment, and we would like to harmonize the requests from the local people and our duties under the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.