(Tokyo Shimbun: June 20, 2015 – p. 3)
Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga has started making adjustments to a plan to ask the government to halt the work of constructing a new U.S. military base in the Henoko district of Nago City in place of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station (in Ginowan City). Onaga plans to make the request at a peace memorial ceremony to commemorate the end of the Battle of Okinawa, which will be held on June 23. A source connected to the Okinawa prefectural government disclosed Onaga’s plan on June 19. By expressing “his opposition to the Henoko initiative,” the governor intends to urge the governments of Japan and the United States to reconsider the construction plan at the memorial ceremony, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy are expected to attend.
Meeting with the Ambassador on June 19 at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Onaga directly conveyed his opposition to the Henoko initiative and sought understanding form the Ambassador. According the U.S. Embassy, the Ambassador took the view that the Henoko initiative, which has been promoted by the Japanese and U.S. governments, is “the only solution.”
At the memorial event, Onaga plans to describe the present situation of Okinawa, which accounts for only 0.6% of the total land area of Japan, but where 74% of the U.S. Forces Japan facilities are concentrated, and then emphasize that “the burden should be shouldered by the entire nation.”