• Kyodo


Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga is making arrangements to hold talks for the first time in Tokyo with U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, possibly next week, a senior Okinawa prefectural official said Tuesday.

Onaga apparently wants to discuss his recent visit to the United States, during which he explained to U.S. government officials why he and so many other Okinawans oppose a plan to relocate U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to another site within the prefecture.

Onaga has not held talks with Kennedy since he took over the governorship last December.

He won the gubernatorial election in November with a pledge to block the plan to replace Futenma, which is in a crowded residential area, with a facility to be built in the coastal Henoko district of Nago, farther north on Okinawa Island.

Onaga visited Hawaii and Washington between May 27-June 5 for the first time in his capacity as governor to convey to U.S. government authorities and lawmakers his opposition to the base relocation plan.

The Okinawa Prefectural Government had sought to arrange a meeting between Onaga and Kennedy before the governor headed to the United States.

Kennedy plans to attend a memorial service in Okinawa on June 23 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa, a World War II battle that claimed more than 200,000 lives.

It will be the second time she has attended the ceremony.