Nago mayor prepared to go on his own visit to the United States in January

Nago mayor prepared to go on his own visit to the United States in January

    Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine


November 8, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

At a routine press conference held on November 7, with regard to making a direct request to the United States Government to relocate the Marine Corps Futenma Air Station outside of the prefecture, Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine said, “If I cannot visit the United States as a member of the Guntenkyo Council (Okinawa Municipal Council for Military Land Conversion and Base Problems) I will go in my capacity as the mayor of Nago.” The mayor thereby indicated his firm commitment to visit the United States even if the Council members failed to reach an agreement to initiate a visit under the auspices of the Council. He said that it is his intention to visit the United States in January or February next year. The Guntenkyo Council is made up of representatives of the Okinawa Prefecture Government and the governments of municipalities in the prefecture that host American bases. Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima is the council’s president.

At the general meeting of the Guntenkyo held in October, Mayor Inamine proposed that a visit should be made to the United States with Governor Hirokazu Nakaima representing all of the council members. He said, “It’s important for us to be all together as one in our appeal to the United States government.” However, a final decision on such a visit by the Guntenkyo is yet to be reached by its members.

Inamine said, “We should press ahead to make specific arrangements to visit the United States.” He will confirm the stance of the council on this matter and at same time will make preparations to visit by himself. In the United States, as well as carrying out interviews with government officials and researchers, the Mayor Inamine wants to make the voice of the Okinawan people seeking relocation outside the prefecture heard through the American media.

With regard to former mayor Yoshikazu Shimabukuro’s remark about the base relocation being “linked” with the economic development policies of the central government, Inamine countered by saying, “The Prime Minister and various ministers have clearly denied this. Creating a link between these policies must not be permitted. It [linking the two policies] would mislead the public, and from the perspective of all of Okinawa, it would be totally unacceptable.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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