Governor Onaga calls policing of protests in Takae “excessive”

Governor Onaga calls policing of protests in Takae “excessive”

Governor Takeshi Onaga answering reporters’ questions at the Okinawa Prefectural Office on August 25, 2016.

August 26, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

Governor Takeshi Onaga held a press conference on August 25 at the Okinawa Prefectural Office. At the conference he pointed out that, “Whether 500 or 800 officers are mobilized, it will certainly be excessive policing,” referring to the ongoing state of tension between Okinawans and the riot police surrounding helipad construction in Takae.

The Okinawa Prefectural Public Safety Commission, the members of which Onaga has the power to appoint, appealed for the dispatch of riot police officers from outside of Okinawa. Onaga said it was a terrible shame that the Commission made this appeal. He claimed that, “The [Prefectural] Public Safety Commission aught to be [an entity] recognized for its neutrality, exemplifying fairness, impartiality, and independence.”

During the conference Onaga criticized the Japanese government for resuming construction of the relocation facility for Futenma Air Station. He said that the government is far from assuming a posture of closely associating with Okinawans and communicating frankly with them.

Onaga claimed that the deforestation and red soil erosion caused by helipad construction fall under laws and regulations on these issues. He said that since Japan is a constitutional nation, he wants the central government to follow these laws and regulations properly. In addition, he mentioned that the Okinawa Prefectural Government had been requesting the Japanese government to withdraw Osprey from Okinawa. Therefore, he claimed, “If the government fails to provide a careful explanation about our request, I think that goes against the relationship of mutual trust [between Okinawa and Japan].” Following this, he once again requested withdrawal of Osprey aircraft from Okinawa.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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