Establish a facility for gathering information in the United States

June 4, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

On June 3, Head of the Executive Office of the Governor Susumu Matayoshi gave the media an explanation of his official trip to the United States, which commenced on May 22.
Matayoshi indicated a willingness to locate some form of center of information gathering in the United States to help push for the relocation of the Futenma Air Station out of the prefecture.

From May 24, Matayoshi traveled to Washington, D.C., New York and Boston, where he had talks with U.S. officials including Michael Schiffer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian & Pacific Security Affairs, East Asia and other key figures. He explained to them Okinawa governor Hirokazu Nakaima’s policy regarding the request for the relocation of Futenma Air Station out of Okinawa. Matayoshi said, “Much more time is needed to get them to understand our views on the issue.”
He indicated the desire to locate some form of base of information gathering in the United States, saying, “Those whom I talked to don’t understand what the people of Okinawa want. They miss the point, asking things like ‘Does the Unites States need to give Okinawa money?’ Our task is to make sure that people in the United States at all levels of society know what the people of Okinawa truly want. The prefecture needs to establish direct channels of communication with the United States.”

With regard to Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and John McCain, senior United States Senator, seeing the current plan put forward by both the U.S. and Japanese governments for the relocation of Futenma Air Station to Henoko, Nago City, as unrealistic, and suggesting the integration of Futenma Air Station into Kadena Air Base, Matayoshi said, “Although the U.S. government has said that it would deal with the situation based on the agreement between the Japanese and the U.S. governments, I did get the impression that the U.S. government is taking things seriously.”
Matayoshi also talked to the staff of Jim Webb, the senior United States Senator from Virginia who suggested the integration of Futenma Air Station into Kadena Air Base, saying, “They told me that the U.S. government and the Congress are not discussing the feasibility of that suggestion.”

Before returning to Okinawa on June 2, in the United States Matayoshi also met James Jones, a former United States National Security Advisor, Michael Green, a senior adviser of Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Ezra Vogel, the author of “Japan as Number One.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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