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Okinawa governor’s Hawaii trip during typhoon elicits criticism of poor crisis management

  • 2015-07-13 15:00:00
  • , Sankei
  • Translation

(Sankei: July 11, 2015 – p. 5)


 With typhoon no. 9 resulting in a considerable number of casualties in Okinawa, the Okinawa Prefectural Government is being criticized for poor crisis management in light of Governor Takeshi Onaga’s visit to Hawaii and a trip by the acting governor, Vice Governor Isho Urasaki to Tokyo during the typhoon.


 Onaga came to Tokyo on the afternoon of July 8, stayed overnight, then flew to Hawaii from Haneda Airport on a late night flight on July 9 to attend a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of sister state ties between Okinawa and Hawaii. He is scheduled to return to Okinawa on July 14.


 During Onaga’s absence, Urasaki serves as acting governor in accordance with standing rules. In this case, Okinawa had notified government ministries and the municipal governments that Urasaki is acting on behalf of Onaga.


 Yet, Urasaki also came to Tokyo on the afternoon of July 8. On the next day, he petitioned the government regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and visited the antenna shop for Okinawan products in Ginza.


 Urasaki was scheduled to return to Okinawa on the evening of July 9, but flights were cancelled. He boarded a flight on the morning of July 10, but the aircraft returned to Haneda Airport because of the typhoon. He finally arrived in Okinawa at around 6:00 p.m. on July 10.


 The Okinawa Prefectural Government said that there was “no problem” because Vice Governor Mitsuo Agena remained in the prefecture. A former Okinawan official was critical. He said: “Why did Mr. Urasaki not call off a non-urgent business trip? There was no point in appointing an acting governor and he had no awareness of his duty to protect the Okinawan people’s life and property.

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