Governor Onaga encourages unity against Henoko base at Okinawa Memorial Day Ceremony

Governor Onaga encourages unity against Henoko base at Okinawa Memorial Day Ceremony

At 12:32 p.m. on June 23 at Peace Memorial Park in Mabuni, Itoman City, Governor Takeshi Onaga delivers a Okinawa Memorial Day Ceremony peace declaration 72 years after the Battle of Okinawa.


June 23, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

Starting at 11:50 a.m. on June 23 at Peace Memorial Park in Mabuni, Itoman City, the Okinawa Prefectural Government and Prefectural Assembly held the Okinawa Memorial Day Ceremony. This ceremony is held in memory of the more than 200,000 people who lost their lives in the Battle of Okinawa, and in pursuance of lasting world peace. During Governor Takeshi Onaga’s peace declaration, he criticized the Japanese government’s handling of the relocation of Futenma Air Station to Henoko. Onaga said that it is unacceptable that construction is being forced through regardless of Okinawans’ popular will. He encouraged Okinawans to remain unified with determined resolve in the effort to prevent construction of the new base.

Onaga pointed out the absurdity of around 70 percent of U.S. military exclusive use facilities in Japan being located in Okinawa, when Okinawa makes up only 0.6 percent of Japan’s land mass. He mentioned the crash of a US military MV-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing aircraft in December last year, and the continued use of a former US Navy aircraft parking apron even after a relocated parking apron was built as agreed under the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) final report. Referencing such issues, Onaga felt the need to speak up that base burden reduction is being reversed.

As a guest speaker, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the existing base burden in Okinawa is intolerable. He said that in order to reduce the base burden on Okinawa the government will produce steady results one-by-one. However, he also touted the return of about 4000 hectares (15.4 square miles) of land in the Northern Training Area to Okinawa in December last year as an achievement of the Japanese government’s base burden reduction policies.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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