Nago Mayor to visit U.S. to voice opposition to Henoko relocation plan

Nago Mayor to visit U.S. to voice opposition to Henoko relocation plan

Holding up reference material, Inamine talked to reporters at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on February 13.

February 14, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

In Tokyo on February 13, Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine held a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan for the first time. He announced to visit the United States as early as April. Reelected in the mayoral election, Inamine intends to convey his opposition to the plan to move U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the Henoko district in Nago to the U.S. government officials and intellectuals. He seeks their understanding. Inamine said, “I will visit the United States after April and tell many people about my intentions.”

He talked about his meeting with U.S. ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy who visited Okinawa. Inamine said that Kennedy showed interest in the sea off Henoko and the natural environment of Oura Bay where a diverse range of animals such as dugongs and sea turtles live.

Inamine again said that Kennedy did not specifically refer to the Henoko relocation.
Inamine said that his reelection last month reflected the desire of Nago citizens to prevent the building of a new military base in Henoko. He went on to say, “If the Japanese and U.S. governments force the plan through, they will be ignoring the will of the people. Democracies should accept the results of elections.” Inamine strongly criticized the Japanese government for promoting the plan despite the election result. He pointed out that Okinawa has been forced to endure the excessive burden of hosting the U.S. military for 68 years since the end of World War II. Inamine said, “It is discriminatory treatment.” Inamine continued, “I want foreign correspondents to be interested in the problems that Okinawa has been facing, and to tell people overseas.”

Inamine held a press conference at the Japan National Press Club for the first time. He said to the reporters, “Building the new base will damage tourism businesses and destroy the living and learning environment for children. The Henoko relocation is a human rights issue.” Inamine said that if the Japanese government sees the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and Japan-U.S. alliance as important, other parts of Japan should take the burden of hosting the U.S. military bases.

(English translation by T&CT)

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