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Okinawa governor holds news conference to conclude U.S. visit

  • 2015-06-05 15:00:00
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(Akahata: June 5, 2015 – p. 4)

 

 By Minetaka Shimada in Washington

 

 Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, who is visiting the U.S., held a news conference in Washington on June 3 at the conclusion of his trip from May 27 aimed at conveying that the popular will in Okinawa is against the construction of a new military base in Henoko, Nago City. He said: “I was able to make many friends with whom I will be able to work with from now on. I would like to expand the movement to oppose the construction of the new military base worldwide.”

 

 According to Onaga, 80-90% of the people he met asked him, What is the problem with the construction of the new base? They ended up having a “good understanding” and getting to know “things they have heard for the first time.” However, 70-80% also noted that “it will be difficult to raise issues about an agreement between governments.”

 

 Onaga stressed that “it is a great achievement that there is now broader understanding (of Okinawa’s position).” He promised to “move ahead, one step at a time, after returning to Okinawa, banking on this achievement.”

 

 Onaga said: “Our aim is to stop the construction work. I will make my decisions at important junctures in the process.”

 

 Members of the prefectural assembly, municipal leaders in Okinawa, and members of the Naha City Assembly, who accompanied Onaga on his trip, were also present at the news conference. Prefectural lawmaker Osamu Toguchi (Japanese Communist Party) explained that with the delegation members splitting into smaller groups, a total of 55 meetings were held with members of Congress (including their staff members), think tanks, and other organizations.

 

 Toguchi said that when they asserted that it is impossible to build a new military base in Henoko, the responses included: “We understand the Okinawan people’s suffering” and “We would like to look into why the bases are concentrated in Okinawa,” which were “very encouraging.” He indicated that he would like to “work to the best of his ability after returning to Okinawa, capitalizing on what was achieved on this trip.”

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