Henoko fund set up to help block construction of new US base
April 10, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
A new fund has been established to prevent the construction of a new U.S. base in northern Okinawa. The governments of Japan and the United States are planning to move U.S. Marine Corps Air Station from Futenma in Ginowan to a new base in Nago. The “Henoko fund” was set up on April 9 by businesspeople and members of the Prefectural Assembly’s ruling parties. They aim to raise several hundred million yen from supporters both inside and outside Okinawa.
The founding board members support the Okinawa Prefectural Government’s position that Futenma air station should be either transferred to another prefecture, or relocated overseas. They intend to use the fund to show people in the rest of Japan and abroad that Okinawa opposes the Henoko base plan. Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga is considering becoming an adviser to the fund on a personal basis.
Former Kadena Mayor Tokuzitu Miyaga, Morimasa Goya, chairman of Kanehide Group, Chokei Taira, CEO of Kariyushi Group, Tokumatsu Nagahama, chairman of Okinawa Ham Co., Masaru Sato, writer and former chief analyst at Foreign Ministry and Fumiko Sugawara (the widow of late actor Bunta Sugawara) have become joint representatives of the fund. Governor Onaga also attended the press conference to launch the fund on April 9 in Naha.
The founding members will hold a general meeting in May to discuss their plans. They said the fund would help support campaigns, including publishing advertisements in newspapers in Tokyo and the United States, and carrying out lobbying activities in the U.S.
Former Kadena Mayor Miyagi said, “The governments of Japan and the United States have an authority to decide the Futenma Issue but we cannot entrust everything to them.” He insisted that Okinawan people could take some control of the issue through the fundraising campaign.
Governor Onaga was “truly touched” by the fundraising campaign. “It has renewed my determination on this issue,” he said.
(English translation by T&CT)
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