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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 June 3 - 9  > Onaga: Okinawans’ opposition to base construction wins sympathy in US
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2015 June 3 - 9 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Onaga: Okinawans’ opposition to base construction wins sympathy in US

June 5, 2015

Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi held a news conference in Washington D.C. on June 3, saying that his one-week visit to the United States has contributed to gaining U.S. public sympathy for Okinawans’ continued strong opposition to the planned construction of a new U.S. military base in the prefecture.

The delegation from Okinawa is visiting the U.S. from May 27. They have met with federal government officials, congresspersons, and representatives of think tanks and civic organizations.

“We made friends with many people. I’ll continue to work to have people all over the world become aware of the Okinawan movement opposing the base construction,” Onaga said.

According to the governor, more than 80% of the people he met on the trip eagerly asked about problems pertaining to the construction project and showed their understanding of the delegates’ position. He added that many still find it difficult to take action against the project because it was already approved by both countries.

Japanese Communist Party member of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly Toguchi Osamu, heading the delegation, noted that in one meeting the U.S. side expressed their willingness to investigate why U.S. bases in Japan are concentrated in Okinawa.

Ahead of the press conference, Onaga had talks with State Department Office of Japanese Affairs Director Joe Young and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Cara Abercrombie.

Referring to the fact that 74% of the U.S. military facilities in Japan are located in Okinawa, Onaga stressed, “An overwhelming majority of local people feel that they can no longer bear the burden of U.S. bases.” He urged the U.S. officials to abandon the construction plan.

The governor went on to say that if the U.S. and Japanese administrations push forward with the project, the whole world will question whether the two nations actually value liberty, equality, human rights, and democracy.

The officials replied that they will convey to their superiors what the governor said.

Past related article:
> Okinawa Governor tells US Congresspersons of opposition to Henoko base construction [May 30, 2015]
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