Governor Onaga travels to US to call for a stop to Henoko construction
February 2, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
Sakae Toiyama reports from Washington D.C.
On the afternoon of January 31, Governor Takeshi Onaga began his action in Washington D.C. to convey Okinawa’s opposition to the construction of a new base as part of the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko, Nago, and to call for the plan to be changed. On January 31, Governor Onaga met with Congress members and their staffers, and with researchers specializing in Japan at the Congressional Research Service, which regularly publishes reports that U.S. Congress members use as reference when making policy decisions.
At his meeting with the researchers, Governor Onaga emphasized that 70% to 80% of Okinawans oppose the Henoko relocation, and that amidst such opposition, it would take 15 to 20 years for the relocation to be completed. He also said that he plans to act objectively using his authority as governor to respond to any design changes related to the new base construction, conveying the expectation that although Japan’s Supreme Court ruled against Okinawa in the lawsuit over the cancellation of the Henoko land reclamation permit, the relocation work will not progress smoothly.
After the meeting, Governor Onaga told reporters, “In the United States, there is a misunderstanding about the Supreme Court’s ruling. People have expressed the understanding that the ruling indicates that [the relocation problem] is resolved. There is an overwhelming gap between the information propagated by the Japanese government and that which I have conveyed. I spoke to them on that premise.”
Starting on February 1, Governor Onaga will meet with members of the Senate and the House of Representatives who serve on their respective Armed Services Committees and Foreign Affairs Committees.
(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)
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