Gov. Onaga gives speech at UN calling for stop to US Henoko base construction

Gov. Onaga gives speech at UN calling for stop to US Henoko base construction

Governor Takeshi Onaga describes how human rights are being neglected in Okinawa (September 21, UN Human Rights Council, Switzerland)

September 22, 2015 Ryukyu Shimp Ryota Shimabukuro reports from Geneva

On September 21, shortly after 5:00 p.m., Governor Takeshi Onaga gave a speech at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, speaking about the fact that Okinawans do not agree to the new base construction being carried out by the governments of Japan and the U.S. in Henoko, Nago, and arguing to the international community that the forceful implementation of the base construction plans constitutes a violation of human rights and must be stopped by any possible and legitimate means. Governor Onaga called upon the international community, stating, “I would like the world to pay attention to Henoko, where Okinawans’ right to self-determination is being neglected.”

It was the first time a prefectural governor from Japan gave a speech at the UN Human Rights Council. Governor Onaga emphasized that the overwhelming burden of military bases being shouldered by the Okinawan people is a human rights issue, hoping that rising criticism at home and abroad will prevent the new base from being constructed.

Governor Onaga emphasized the unjust nature of the demand by the U.S. and Japanese governments that a replacement facility be built within Okinawa in order for Futenma to be closed, stating, “After World War II, the US military took our land by force…we have never provided our land willingly.”

He also stated, “Okinawa only covers 0.6% of Japan. However, 73.8% of US exclusive bases in Japan exist in Okinawa. Over the past seventy years, US bases have caused many incidents, accidents, and environmental problems in Okinawa.” Based on this, he concluded, “Our right to self-determination and human rights have been neglected.”

Governor Onaga also mentioned the fact that candidates opposing the construction of a new base in Henoko won a series of important elections last year, including the gubernatorial election, the Nago mayoral election, and the lower house election. He announced his determination to prevent the base construction, stating, “I am determined to stop the base construction using every possible and legitimate means.”

(Translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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