Japanese minister of defense Gen Nakatani visited Ginowan City in Okinawa on August 17 and met with the chief of US Forces in the prefecture, Lieutenant General John Wissler. Last week, a US Army helicopter crashed into the sea about 20 miles (30 kilometers) east of Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. Japan's defense minister requested the US Marines based in Okinawa to avoid such accidents in the future. 

Japan’s The Mainichi Daily News reports that after a meeting with Wissler, Gen Nakatani told the press that he asked the US troops based in Okinawa to implement preventive measures, to take in consideration the local residents and try their best to prevent another accident. In response, Lieutenant General Wissler said the US Marines will strive to improve the safety of the operations and the Japanese side will be informed if there are any unusual occurrences. 


The defense minister’s visit to Okinawa is a part of the negotiation between the Japanese government and Okinawa Prefecture on the relocation of US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which is situated in the region. Gen Nakatani met with Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga and Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine on Sunday. 



Since August 10, the Japanese government has suspended the reclamation project off the coast of Henoko, which is chosen to be the relocation destination of Futenma base. The suspension lasts about a month, till September 9. During this period, the Japanese government will discuss with Okinawa Prefecture the relocation plan of Futenma. The Japanese government supports the move to relocate the Futenm Air Base to the Henoko area of Nago in the prefecture and wishes to push the construction forward. But Okinawa Prefecture is against the relocation plan. Whether the two sides have reached a compromise remains unknown.