NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. - Famed animation director Hayao Miyazaki will help lead a fund set up to oppose the relocation of a U.S. military base in Okinawa Prefecture, a source close to the fund said Friday.
The fund was set up by Okinawa residents on April 9 to collect funds for their campaign to halt the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Ginowan to Henoko, a coastal district further north on the island. They want the base removed from Okinawa altogether.
After collecting more than ¥100 million ($834,000), the Henoko Fund decided to extend an invitation to the Oscar-winning director, who accepted, the source said.
“It is necessary for peace in East Asia to demilitarize Okinawa,” Miyazaki said in a note when residents asked prominent people to help their cause in October 2014, the source quoted the note as saying.
Other leaders of the fund include Fumiko Sugawara, widow of actor Bunta Sugawara, and Masaru Sato, a writer and former intelligence analyst at the Foreign Ministry.
Local resistance has stalled the plan for nearly two decades. The fund aims to help Gov. Takeshi Onaga fight the base and might buy ads in Japanese and U.S. newspapers.