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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 February 1 - 7  > Okinawa governor calls for American public support for anti-US base fight
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2017 February 1 - 7 [POLITICS]

Okinawa governor calls for American public support for anti-US base fight

February 2-5, 2017
A delegation of Okinawa Prefecture led by Governor Onaga Takeshi visited the United States from February 1 to 3, calling for support for Okinawans’ opposition to the construction of an enormous U.S. military base in the Henoko coastal district in Nago City.

This is the third time for the prefecture to send its delegation to the country. Its main purpose is to communicate the growing local opposition to the base construction directly to key American figures after the Trump administration was launched.

On February 1, Governor Onaga met with researchers at the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Referring to the fact that 80% of Okinawans are opposed to the base construction, Onaga expressed his intent to block the work by exercising his full authority as governor.

During the three-day visit, the governor had meetings with senior officials at the State Department and 13 congresspersons from both the Democratic and Republican parties. He stressed that the burden of U.S. military facilities has reached a point beyond the limits of Okinawans’ patience and that the Japan-U.S. security alliance will be adversely affected if the two governments stick to the construction project. Some of the congress members said in response that they want to learn more about the actual situation in Okinawa.

In the meantime, Nago Mayor Inamine Susumu and members of the prefectural assembly who accompanied the governor held talks with representatives of six American think tanks and one trade union.

On the last day, Onaga held a news conference in Washington D.C. and said that he will make use of the newly-built network of contacts to further expand the local opposition campaign.

Japanese Communist Party assemblyperson Toguchi Osamu said, “An increased number of Americans have listened to us this time compared to our first visit two years ago. I’ll continue to work with hope for the future.”
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