“Mainland is inaccessible” Governor Onaga expresses what is in Okinawans’ hearts

On May 15, at a press conference held at the prefectural office, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga was asked what he thinks is in "the hearts of Okinawans."

May 15, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo 

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga held a press conference at the Prefectural Government Office around 10 a.m. on May 15. Governor Onaga was asked what he thinks is in “the hearts of Okinawans.” The question harked back to comments made by former governor Junji Nishime who said, “In their hearts Okinawans want to be Yamatonchu (Japanese) yet that cannot be.” Onaga talked about the time when the 41 heads of the municipalities in Okinawa went to Tokyo and handed a petition to Abe requesting the easing of the base-hosting burden in 2013. He stated, “I sometimes felt that the main islands of Japan reject us even when we try to reach out to them.” The governor referred to the fact that a large part of the donation to the Henoko Fund comes from outside Okinawa, as well as to various public polls that show a lot of opposition to the Henoko relocation. He said, “Whether we are able to build a bond between Okinawa and the main islands of Japan is becoming increasingly important. I want to continue stressing what the former governors have said and what I now also feel.”

Onaga talked about the fact that this year marks the 43rd anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to Japan. The governor said reversion was achieved as a result of the efforts of the Okinawan people under the slogan: “equality with the people of mainland Japan.” However, he added, “What Okinawans face today is not real democracy as we hoped for at the time of reversion.” Onaga went on to say, “I want to create and leave behind, ‘wealth with dignity’ for future generations.”

The governor also expressed unease at the cabinet’s approval of the new security related bill that aims to expand the activities of the Self Defense Force. Onaga stated, “I am concerned about how Okinawa might be targeted in the future because it is hosting military bases with important functions.”

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma) 

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