Okinawa Governor says in New Year’s greeting he will block construction of new US base
January 5, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
On January 5, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga made his New Year greeting to government staff members over an office broadcast. In order to realize his pledge from the gubernatorial campaign, he said he would appeal “firmly to [public and governments] in Japan and abroad”. He said, “I will not allow to build a new U.S. base in Henoko. I want to discuss this issue with the governments of Japan and the United States.” During the gubernatorial race held in November 2014, Onaga pledged to block the plan to construct a U.S. base in Henoko, Nago, as a replacement for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. The governor highlighted that he will seek a cancellation of the plan to move the Futenma base to Henoko from both governments, and believes it is possible.
The governments have been carrying out the relocation work despite the result of the election. The governor reiterated his policy, saying, “On behalf of all Okinawan people, with a single purpose based on the spirit of the petition, we would like to move the Futenma base to another place outside of Okinawa in Japan or abroad.”
The petition was adopted at the Okinawa Prefectural Citizens’ Rally Against Osprey Deployment held on September 9, 2012. More than 100,000 citizens took part in the rally. It seeks from the governments of Japan and the United States closure and removal of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, and asks that they renounce the plan to relocate it within the prefecture. The petition bears the signatures of the mayors of all 41 municipalities of Okinawa, the representatives of the Mayor Association, Town and Village Assemblies, Chairman’s Council of the Municipal Assembly, the Chairman’s Council of the Town and Village Assembly, various parties in the Prefectural Assembly, and the rally executive committee.
This year marks the 70-year anniversary of the end of World War Two. The governor said, “I would like to show my respect for our predecessors who have contributed to the development of Okinawa. They have endured hardships beyond description. I will do everything to realize ‘richness with pride’, the slogan of the gubernatorial election. I want to make this year a milestone for the first year of dramatic development of Okinawa.”
(English translation by T&CT)
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