Text of Governor Onaga’s UN speech opposing new base sent to 151 ambassadors and consuls in Japan
November 10, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
On November 9, the Okinawa prefectural government sent the text of Governor Onaga’s Speech at the United Nations to ambassadors and honorary consuls from 151 countries and regions based at embassies and consulates in Tokyo. The speech regards the construction of a new U.S. military base in Henoko, Nago and was given by Governor Takeshi Onaga at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland in September.
The Japanese government has begun procedures to prepare for actual construction of the new Henoko base, and the prefectural government will soon be embroiled in a legal battle against the national government regarding Governor Onaga’s rescinding of the Henoko land reclamation permit. Against this backdrop, the Okinawa prefectural government aims to clearly convey Okinawa’s opposition to the new base construction to the international community.
In addition to the governor’s UN speech, the Okinawa prefectural government also sent English-language documents explaining the excessive burden of US military bases shouldered by Okinawa and the construction plans for the new Henoko base.
The governor’s UN speech explains that all the U.S. military bases in Okinawa were built on land forcibly seized by the U.S. military after the Battle of Okinawa, and that the Okinawan people did not provide the land of their own volition.
The speech further explains that despite the fact that Okinawa makes up a mere 0.6% of Japan’s land mass, 74% of US military exclusive-use bases are concentrated in Okinawa, and Okinawan people continue to suffer from various accidents, incidents, and environmental problems caused by the bases. It argues that in forcefully pushing forward with the Henoko base construction, ”Our right to self-determination and human rights have been neglected.”
The Okinawa prefectural government is also considering sending the same documents to U.S. congress members with influence in deliberations on the U.S. defense budget.
(Article by Yoshiya Hokama and Ryota Shimabukuro)
(Translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)
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