National / Politics

Okinawa governor arrives in Washington to voice U.S. base grievances

Kyodo

Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga arrived in the United States on Tuesday, aiming to convey to President Donald Trump’s administration local opposition to a plan to relocate a U.S. airbase within the southern island prefecture.

It is the third visit by Onaga to Washington since he was elected governor in 2014 pledging to oppose the long-stalled plan to move the operations of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from a crowded residential area of Ginowan to the less-populated Henoko coastal area of Nago.

While in the U.S. capital, Onaga is planning to meet with members of Congress, while it remains unclear whether he will have opportunities to hold talks with officials of the State Department and the Defense Department.

Many people in Okinawa want the Futenma base operations to be relocated outside the prefecture amid frustration and concerns about noise, crime and accidents linked to U.S. bases.

Onaga is expected to explain in a speech at George Washington University and press conferences how Okinawa has been forced to shoulder a heavy burden by hosting the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan for a long period.

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