Okinawa Governor Onaga considers cancelling approval of new U.S military base construction
February 20, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
On February 19, the regular monthly meeting of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly was held. At the meeting, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga announced the policy of the prefectural government for the fiscal year of 2015. Onaga talked about the relocation plan for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko in the Nago district. He once again stressed, “As the Okinawa governor given a mandate by the Okinawan people, I will govern on the basis of preventing a new U.S. military base from being built in Henoko, and seek to move the base outside of the prefecture.” Regarding the independent committee examining the legality of former Governor Hirokazu Nakaima’s approval of the Henoko landfill, Onaga declared, “I will consider canceling and rescinding the approval.” He also announced he would request the central government stop operations at Futenma within five years and rescind the deployment of the Osprey to Okinawa.
Onaga declared he would promote economic strategies, which emphasize cooperation with Asian regions that are rapidly developing. By pushing Okinawa’s soft power, the Onaga administration intends to create an international logistics hub, and expand and strengthen leading industries, including tourism resorts and information technology. Onaga said he would aim at over one trillion yen of tourism revenue and increase the number of tourists visiting Okinawa to over 10 million.
While the administration plans to raise the qualifying age for subsidized health care costs for children to preschool age, they are drawing up a project to streamline childcare centers in municipalities and approve non-licensed childcare centers. Onaga said, “We plan to eliminate ‘childcare waiting lists’ in certified day-care centers by the end of the fiscal 2017.”
Onaga discussed the return of the land used by U.S. bases south of Kadena. He said, “We will promote use of the land.” As he has pledged, Onaga plans to work on stationing resident officials in Washington D.C. and fundamentally reviewing the Japan-U.S. Status-of-Forces Agreement.
Onaga also talked about social capital, upgrade of industrial infrastructure, employment promotion, conservation of natural environment, Okinawan cultural inheritance, improvement of medical services and welfare. He further announced he will promote the remote islands, education, and international exchanges. He declared, “I will do my best to work on carrying out my policy pledges in order to measure up to Okinawan people’s expectations.”
(English translation by T&CT)
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