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2008年12月31日 (水)

「普天間」移設 日米合意案通りに進めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 31, 2008)

Don't stray from accord on Futenma relocation

「普天間」移設 日米合意案通りに進めよ(1231日付・読売社説)

The realignment of U.S. forces stationed in Okinawa Prefecture is finally about to enter the implementation phase. It is important that an agreement made between Japan and the United States be steadily implemented so that breakthrough measures to reduce burdens borne by local communities hosting U.S. bases can be taken.

 在沖縄米軍の再編がいよいよ実行段階に入る。画期的な地元負担の軽減策を現実のものにするため、日米合意を着実に実行することが肝要だ。

The government in its draft budget for fiscal 2009 earmarked 83.9 billion yen for the realignment as part of defense-related spending. This is more than triple the figure from the previous year.

 2009年度政府予算案では、防衛関係費に839億円の米軍再編経費が計上された。前年の3倍以上に一気に増えた。

The draft budget set aside 34.6 billion yen for the transfer of U.S. Marine Corps units in Okinawa Prefecture to Guam, including site preparation work for its headquarters and accommodation facilities. The relocation of Futenma Air Station in Ginowan in the prefecture to Camp Schwab in Nago comes with a price tag of 9.4 billion yen.

 在沖縄海兵隊のグアム移転では司令部や隊舎の敷地造成費などに346億円が盛り込まれた。普天間飛行場のキャンプ・シュワブへの移設関連費も94億円に上る。

Tokyo and Washington have agreed that the relocation of Futenma Air Station and the transfer of 8,000 marines to Guam will be completed by the end of 2014 and that the sites of six U.S. military facilities, including Futenma, be returned to Japan.

 日米両政府は、2014年に普天間飛行場の県内移設と海兵隊8000人のグアム移転を実現し、普天間など6米軍施設を日本に返還することで合意している。

These plans are well balanced in that the deterrent capability of the U.S. forces will be maintained while the burdens on Okinawa Prefecture will be eased.

 米軍の抑止力を維持しつつ、沖縄の負担を軽減するという点で、バランスのとれた計画だ。

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Negotiations deadlocked

It is important that the plans are carried out in unison. If the planned transfer of Futenma Air Station does not progress, the overall plan will stall. This would spell failure for measures aimed at lessening local burdens.

 重要なのは、これが一体の計画である、ということだ。仮に普天間飛行場の移設が進まなければ、計画全体が頓挫し、肝心の負担軽減策も水泡に帰しかねない。

The Okinawa prefectural government has yet to agree to a plan to construct alternative facilities to Futenma Air Station on a waterfront area of Camp Schwab. The prefectural government has demanded the facilities be built far off the shore from the camp. However, the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush has refused to accept the offshore plan. The negotiations thus have been deadlocked.

 沖縄県は、キャンプ・シュワブ沿岸部に建設する普天間飛行場の代替施設案に同意せず、施設の沖合移動を求めている。ブッシュ米政権は沖合移動を拒否しており、事態は膠着(こうちゃく)状態にある。

Some Japanese officials had hopes that the administration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama will accept the prefecture's demand on the relocation site. But the possibility of that happening significantly diminished when Obama decided to retain U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. This could have serious implications.

 オバマ米次期政権は沖合移動を容認するのではないか、という期待が日本側の一部にあった。だが、ゲーツ国防長官の留任が決まり、その可能性は極めて小さくなった。この事実は重い。

After all, proceeding with the plans agreed by the two governments offers the shortest path to making the return of Futenma Air Station site a reality. Twelve years have passed since the agreement on the return of the air station was made. Any further delay in the plan could erode the credibility of the Japan-U.S. alliance.

 今後は、やはり日米が合意した案通りに移設を進めるのが、普天間飛行場の返還を実現する近道だろう。1996年の返還合意から既に12年余が経過している。さらに先送りするようでは、日米同盟の信頼性にもかかわる。

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Govt must do more

Under the cabinet of former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura and some other officials in the Prime Minister's Office were actively involved in the relocation issue. But the Cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso has lacked a "control tower" on this matter. The Aso Cabinet needs to give more attention to the relocation and spare no effort in coordination efforts with the Okinawa prefectural government and other concerned local governments.

 福田前内閣では、町村信孝前官房長官ら首相官邸が積極的に取り組んでいたが、麻生内閣では「司令塔不在」の状態が続いている。早急に態勢を立て直し、沖縄県など地元との調整に力を入れる必要がある。

The defense budget planned for fiscal 2009 totals 4.77 trillion yen, 0.1 percent less than the previous year's initial budget. This will mark a decline in defense spending for seven consecutive years. In fiscal 2010 and beyond, the cost of realigning U.S. forces may increase further, which would squeeze the budget available for other defense projects.

 09年度の防衛費は、前年比0・1%減の4兆7741億円となった。防衛費の減少は7年連続である。10年度以降は、米軍再編経費がさらに増加し、それ以外の防衛費を圧迫しかねない。

Among neighboring nations, however, not only China and Russia but also South Korea, India, Australia and the United States have sharply increased their defense spending in recent years.

 だが、近隣諸国を見渡せば、中国、ロシアは無論、米国、韓国、インド、豪州も近年、そろって国防費を大幅に伸ばしている。

The government must be careful not to give the impression that only Japan is reducing its defense spending and attaches little importance to security issues.

 日本だけが防衛費を大幅に削減し、安全保障を軽視しているという誤ったメッセージを送るのは避けねばなるまい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 31, 2008)

200812310136  読売新聞)

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