Governor Onaga says “The new base is discrimination,” and “America is responsible” in appeal to US Ambassador

Governor Onaga says “The new base is discrimination,” and “America is responsible” in appeal to US Ambassador

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga making his appeal against new base construction to U.S. Ambassador to Japan William F. Haggerty. November 13, Okinawa Prefectural Office.


November 14, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo


Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga met with United States Ambassador to Japan William F.

Haggerty at the prefectural office November 13.

This was Ambassador Haggerty’s first meeting with the Governor and his second visit to Okinawa.

Governor Onaga commented on the new base construction that is part of the MCAS Futenma base relocation on U.S. military-heavy Okinawa as “discrimination,” and asked the Ambassador for his opinion.

In response, Ambassador Haggerty said, “I understand your concerns,” and without directly mentioning the new base construction in Henoko, reaffirmed his commitment to progressing the easing of Okinawa’s burden as part of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).


For over half of the meeting, Governor Onaga touched on topics such as the Battle of Okinawa and the U.S. base problem which followed, and continued to ask Haggerty for his thoughts.

Governor Onaga also raised his concerns about his visit to the U.S., when his appeals about the Henoko base construction problem were regarded as a domestic Japanese matter, strongly stating, “In the hearts of Okinawans, the U.S. government and military are entirely responsible.

Word of the construction that is displaying grandmothers and grandfathers is making its way throughout the world.

I want you to understand that the base construction in Henoko is calling into doubt Japanese and American democracy.”


Ambassador Haggarty gave his thanks for hosting the U.S. Forces in Japan, and said, “We will continue to support safety and stability in not only Japan, but also in all of Southeast Asia.

” He also stressed his commitment to cooperation between Okinawa, Japan, and the U.S. in continuing to ease the burden on Okinawa, saying, “I agree that we need to cooperate on policies to lessen the effects [of the U.S. military in Japan].”


Ambassador Haggerty also regarded Governor Onaga’s thoughts as “useful information” and indicated that his opinions were shared by the U.S. government. He also said that safety was the “highest priority” in the wake of the U.S. helicopter crash in Takae.


On November 14, Ambassador Haggerty will visit the U.S. bases in Okinawa to hold discussions with U.S. military senior leadership.


(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)


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