Okinawa reversion’s key negotiator meets Nago Mayor in Okinawa

Okinawa reversion’s key negotiator meets Nago Mayor in Okinawa

On September 17, at the Ryukyu Shimpo Izumisaki Building in Naha, Morton Halperin (left) exchanged reflections with Nago mayor Susumu Inamine.

September 18, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On September 17, Morton Halperin, who was the chief US negotiator during the negotiations for Okinawa’s reversion to Japan in the early 1970s, had a meeting with Nago mayor Susumu Inamine at the Ryukyu Shimpo Izumisaki Building in Naha. Halperin shared his views on the problems surrounding the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station to Henoko, Nago. He said that a democratic government should not act against the will of the people.

During the discussion, Mayor Inamine explained that Okinawa only made up 0.6 percent of Japan’s total land area, but had about 74 percent of the American military bases in Japan. He said that he had won his second run for mayor after promising that he “will not allow new bases to be built over sea or on land.” Inamine stressed that “the opposition towards relocation to Henoko is undoubtedly the will of the citizens of Nago.”

Halperin expressed empathy with Mayor Inamine regarding the Futenma relocation problem. He insisted the U.S. government speak with the Japanese government, and arrive at a solution that reflects the voices of the local citizens just like when Okinawa was reverted to Japan. A deal was reached after negotiators listened to the people of Okinawa who wanted the prefecture returned to Japan. Likewise, leaders must once again listen to the will of Okinawan people.

In response to distress over the fact that there are still many bases 42 years after the return, Halperin said that he too is amazed that so many bases remain today.
Mayor Inamine talked about the American responses he heard on his recent visit to the United States. They also discussed the current situation of the Okinawa gubernatorial election which is likely to be held in November.

(English translation by T&CT and Lima Tokumori)

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