Governor Tamaki visits NYU, speaks about Henoko base and state of democracy in Okinawa

Governor Tamaki visits NYU, speaks about Henoko base and state of democracy in Okinawa

Governor Denny Tamaki delivers a speech on November 11 at NYU in New York

November 13, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Special Correspondent Yukiyo Zaha


On the evening of November 11 in New York, Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki delivered a speech at New York University (NYU) on his first visit to the United States since taking office.

He strongly criticized the U.S. and Japanese governments for forcing through construction of the Futenma Replacement Facility in Henoko, Nago City, contrary to the popular will of Okinawa’s citizenry.

In addition, he called for U.S. citizens and Uchinanchu residing in America to make efforts to sway public opinion and move the U.S. government.


Governor Tamaki said: “The Japanese government is going to build the base, and the U.S. government is going to use it.

They have responsibility as concerned parties, yet the base is being forced on Okinawa.

Where should Okinawans deliver our voices? Where is democracy for Okinawa?”


His speech was sponsored by the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) and was titled “The Power of Diversity and the Pride of Democracy in Okinawa.”

NYU Assistant Professor Annmaria Shimabukuro, a second-generation Okinawan, acted as director in organizing Governor Tamaki’s appearance.

Okinawan and Japanese people living in the U.S. numbering about 140 gathered at NYU to attend the speech.

“This confrontation is not due to anti-America or anti-U.S. base ideology; this is just our voice calling for ‘no more new bases in Okinawa.’”

Tamaki said.

He mentioned that Okinawa occupies only 0.6 percent of Japan’s land area, and presently, 73 years since the end of the war, 70.3 percent of U.S. bases in Japan for exclusive use by the U.S. Forces, Japan are concentrated on Okinawa.

Additionally, he expressed a sense of urgency in stopping construction of the new base, as it will soon come to a point where what is done cannot be undone.

Governor Tamaki emphasized a point of inconsistency, saying: “Unfortunately, there is a contradiction in that Japanese people champion the Japan-US security treaty, but don’t want the bases where they live. I should say this contradiction to democracy is imposed on Okinawa.”


Furthermore, Governor Tamaki spoke about the Japanese government using the Administrative Complaint Review Act to make ineffectual the OPG’s revocation of the land reclamation permit.

He stated that the law is designed for the Japanese people, but “the Japanese government twisted the intent of the law in order to proceed with construction works.”


(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)


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