Tinian mayor: ready to host US base functions
The mayor of one of the Northern Mariana Islands says it may be possible for his island to host the functions of a US Marine airbase currently located in Okinawa, southwestern Japan.
Mayor Ramon Dela Cruz of Tinian Island made the remark in a telephone interview with NHK on Wednesday.
Dela Cruz said there is enough land and facilities on the island and that Tinian would be willing to accept a base if the US military decides to relocate the functions of the US Marines' Futenma Air Station there.
The mayor said a deployment of military forces would bring large economic benefits through construction of the base and relevant installations.
He suggested the island will actively lobby the US government to station military forces on the island.
The Northern Mariana Islands are a commonwealth administered by the US.
Members of a Japanese government committee are currently visiting the islands in an effort to find an alternative site for the Futenma base.
But a Japanese defense expert says he is skeptical about relocating Futenma's functions to Tinian.
He says the recently-compiled US defense review, which outlines the nation's military strategy for the next 4 years, does not call for any realignment of US forces to the Northern Marianas Islands.