Island-Wide Council to appeal to United Nations and United States
December 24, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo
On December 23, the “Island-Wide Council for Leading to the Future and Realizing the Okinawa Statement” held its first general assembly. The council was formed by citizens and intellectuals from Okinawan politics, industry, workforce and citizens’ groups that oppose the relocation of the U.S military’s Futenma Air Station to Henoko, Nago. After the overwhelming victory of anti-relocation candidate Takeshi Onaga, who won by a margin of 100,000 votes in the gubernatorial elections in November, the organization decided on their direction for 2015. Actions planned include a direct appeal to United Nations human rights organizations explaining Okinawa’s current situation where the relocation plan is being forced through, and a visit to the United States to lobby for popular support.
About 120 people, including Governor Onaga, Island-Wide Council representatives, and municipal assembly members attended the meeting. They declared, “The Island-Wide Council’s anti-relocation movement has moved to the next stage.” Representatives of the council will visit the other 46 prefectures over six months, directly appealing to local assemblies and media about Okinawa’s situation in order to garner domestic support and awareness.
After the assembly, prefectural assemblyman Yoshikazu Tamaki, a member of the Island-Wide Council executive staff, said, “Preparations are under way to meet with people related to the United Nations in early January. We would like to carry out our appeal to the United Nations as well as the visit to the United States as soon as possible – at the latest in six months.”
The council has been organizing bus trips to support the citizens staging sit-in protests in Henoko. Two buses depart every Monday from in front of the Prefectural Office in Naha. In addition, they have announced plans to start the same buses from Okinawa City every Saturday starting on January 24.
The council executive staff members plan to increase the number of ordinary members from the current 1,229 to 10,000. Requests for opinions on the organizing of a citizens’ rally, and continued support of the sit-in protests at Henoko were also heard during the general assembly.
(English translation by T&CT and Lima Tokumori)
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