Two major Okinawan newspapers have urged U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy to acknowledge local opposition to the relocation of a U.S. base, as well as the threat the move poses to endangered dugongs, following her recent statement expressing concern for the welfare of dolphins.

The Okinawa Times and The Ryukyu Shimpo directly addressed the ambassador in their editorials published in Japanese and English, welcoming her on her first visit to the island prefecture, which began Tuesday.

"The people of Okinawa have a desire to share the universal values of freedom, democracy and respect for human rights with the Americans," The Ryukyu Shimpo said. "Does the U.S. government respect democracy in Okinawa?" the Japanese version added.