Okinawa governor voices complaint on U.S military bases in Japan

Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki complained about issues related to U.S. military bases in Japan on Monday at a United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

The large number of U.S. military bases in Okinawa threatens peace while hindering equal participation in local decision-making in Okinawa, he noted, calling for international attention to the situation in Okinawa.

Regarding the issue of the relocation of the Futenma air base, the Japanese government is still reclaiming valuable sea areas and forcing the construction of a new U.S. military base, despite the clearly expressed will of local people to oppose land reclamation, he said.

Tamaki said that the strengthening of military power and Japan's tense relations with neighboring countries are inconsistent with the will of the local people in Okinawa who want peace, expressing hope that the Japanese government can make diplomatic efforts.

Japan's Supreme Court on September 4 dismissed Okinawa's rejection of a central government plan to build U.S. military base at the Henoko area on the eastern coast of Okinawa's main island to pave the way for the relocation of the Futenma base from a crowded neighborhood on the island.

"Okinawa Prefecture accounts for only 0.6 percent of the total area of Japan, but 70.3 percent of the U.S. military bases in Japan are deployed in Okinawa," Tamaki told CGTN in an interview.

"That's why our people hope to reduce the presence of U.S. military bases, asking for the return of the land. We would use the returned land economically and effectively, which we have in fact done. And by doing this, we have developed the economy and increased employment," said the governor.

(Cover: Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki (C) meets the press at Naha airport in south Japan's Okinawa Prefecture, September 17, 2023. /CFP)

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