Gov. Onaga seeks U.S senators’ and representative’s support to block new base
May 29, 2015 this story compiled from articles by Ryota Shimabukuro of Ryukyu Shimpo
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga met with Senator Mazie Hirono and Representative Tulsi Gabbard on May 27 in Honolulu. The two are Democrats elected in Hawaii. Both serve in the Congress’s Armed Services Committees. The governor said,”I will absolutely not allow a new U.S. base to be built in Henoko, Nago.” He sought the support of the senator and representative in his efforts to have the Henoko relocation plan reviewed.
Senator Hirono said though there are military bases in Hawaii, the government does not build them by force. The senator said that the Japanese government should listen to the opinions of Okinawan people.
Representative Gabbard said the governments of the United States and Japan should find a compromise solution, if construction of the new base cannot go ahead. The Representative urged the governor to bring an alternative proposal next time.
Hirono showed understanding towards the governor’s stance; however, she said Okinawa should appeal more to the Japanese government.
Gabbard said she could understand Okinawa’s feelings, and that what she gained a lot from listening to the governor.
On May 28, Onaga also met with U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (Democratic) who serves in the Defense Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The senator stressed that Okinawan people’s concerns were an important matter. He said he doubted whether it is possible to overturn an agreement between the governments of the U.S and Japan. However, he said that he would do everything he could to help.
(English translation by T&CT)
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