January 4 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
In his year-opening address to staff members of the Okinawa Prefectural Government on January 4, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga pledged to prevent land-reclamation in Henoko and the associated relocation of Futenma Air Station. Onaga said, “Following the statement requesting withdrawal of osprey deployment to Okinawa and immediate closure of Futenma Air Base, I would like to characterize prevention of the new base construction in Henoko as the pillar of my administration. I will employ every possible means to work on the issue and also embody my commitment to close Futenma base immediately and rescind osprey deployment to Okinawa.”
Referring to the past year, Onaga talked about the rape and murder of a 20-year-old local woman by a former marine and contractor stationed at Kadena Air base, the crash-landing accident of the U.S. military vertical takeoff and landing aircraft MV-22 Osprey, the loss of the Henoko lawsuit, new construction of helipads in the Northern Training Area, and the continuing of Osprey flight training. He said, “Various incidents and accidents related to U.S.military bases continue to threaten the safety of Okinawan people’s lives. This is far away from reducing the excessive base hosting burden of Okinawa.”
As well as base issues, Onaga pledged to tackle the issue of irregular employment. He also showed his willingness to work on issues such as the growing number of cruise ships visiting Okinawa, maintenance of Meeting, Incentive, Convention, Event (MICE) facilities, and streamlining logistics at the airport and ports.
(English translation by T&CT)