Ginowan Mayor ends U.S. tour calling for immediate withdrawal of Futenma Base

Iha Yoichi, mayor of Ginowan City, returned from the United States on July 21 after petitioning the U.S. government and many other public organizations for the earliest possible closure of the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station which is undermining the citizens' lives.

Mayor Iha Yoichi tried to use his ten-day visit to the United States to call for the U.S. government to implement the promise it made with Japan in the1996 Special Action Committee on Okinawa report to close down the Futenma base in several years. He also made clear that he is opposed to relocating the base to another site in Okinawa.

At a press conference on July 21 in Naha City, Okinawa, Iha stated that the calls of Ginowan residents and all Okinawans reached U.S. government officials, think tank members, and members of peace organizations.

He said that the U.S.-Japanese plan to relocate the Futenma base to a site off the Henoko district of Nago City or to integrate it into the U.S. Kadena Air Base will only shift Ginowan City's burdens onto residents of another region in Okinawa and reiterated the call for an unconditional closure of the Futenma Base.

Wishing that his tour will be a step toward realizing an early return of the base site, he said, "The task now is for all Okinawans to unite." (end)

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