Okinawans across the nation unite to block new US base, supporting Gov. Onaga

Okinawans across the nation unite to block new US base, supporting Gov. Onaga

Representatives from 18 Okinawa Kenjinkai across the country gathered at the 13th National Okinawa Kenjinkai exchange meeting held on October 3 at a hotel in Shinbashi, Tokyo.

October 4, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

The 13th national Okinawa Kenjinkai exchange meeting was held on October 3 in Tokyo. About 230 representatives from 18 organizations and Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga attended the meeting.

The meeting is held by the Tokyo Okinawa Kenjinkai every two years, when representatives from organizations across the country get together in order to deepen their friendship.

Takeo Nakamatsu, the chairman of the Tokyo Okinawa Kenjinkai, said in his greeting speech that, “We should unite to block the building of a new U.S. base and resolve Okinawa’s problems.” As an Uchinanchu or Okinawan living in the mainland of Japan, he proudly made clear his opposition to base construction at Henoko.

The participants responded to his speech with applause.

Nakamatsu vowed to practice three things and urged others to do the same: first, he said, we should take pride in being Uchinanchu, second; we should unite in order to resolve Okinawa’s problems and third; we should not to allow a new U.S. base to be built.

He said, “The love for Okinawa inspires our actions. We want to promote Uninachu spirit to all of Japan from all of Okinawa in order to reach a nationwide consensus.”

Takehiro Oshiro, the chairman of the Hyogo Prefecture Okinawa Kenjinkai, said, “We, who live in the mainland, will support Governor Onaga who is struggling to resolve the issue, bearing Okinawa on his shoulders as he tries to reflect the will of the people. I hope you will donate to the Henoko Fund and support the governor.”

“The base issues are not ideological. They come from a need to rectify the current situation where the governments of Japan and the United States continue to place 74 percent of U.S. military facilities in Japan on Okinawa, which accounts for 0.6 percent of the area of Japan,” Governor Onaga stressed.

He said, “I will continue to say ‘Do not press the U.S. bases only on Okinawa, if you favor the Japan-U.S. security,’ even though some frictions take place.”

Masaru Sato, a former Foreign Ministry chief analysis officer and his mother from Kumejima Island, gave a lecture titled “Okinawa identity.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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