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Saturday, Sep. 1, 2012
Ishihara offer of Senkaku donations in return for shelter apparently spurned
By MIZUHO AOKI
Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said Friday that money donated to the metropolitan government for purchasing some of the Senkaku Islands will be turned over to the central government only if it commits to building a typhoon shelter there for Japanese fishing boats.
Ishihara said he made the proposal to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Aug. 19. A typhoon shelter is crucial for fishermen based on Ishigaki Island, Okinawa Prefecture, because their boats are too small to survive storms, he said.
"I told him to at least make a typhoon shelter there for small-scale fishermen," Ishihara told reporters. He said he will give the central government all the donated funds if Noda agrees.
He said it would be easy to construct a typhoon shelter at Minamikojima, one of the three islets Tokyo has been planning to buy. The islets are controlled by Japan but claimed by China.
According to Ishihara, Noda told him to wait one week for his answer and then later asked for another week. Friday was the due date, the governor said.
"Today is the day (Noda) promised to reply . . . but I guess I won't receive the answer from him (today)," Ishihara said. "If the government can't make a typhoon shelter at Minamikojima to protect the lives and welfare of Japanese fishermen, it's no longer the government of the Japanese people."
As of Thursday, more than ¥1.4 billion had been donated.