U.S. military base in Okinawa threatens peace—Japanese governor

U.S. military base in Okinawa threatens peace—Japanese governor

DENNY Tamaki, the governor of Okinawa prefecture, expressed his opposition to the Japanese government’s plan to build a new military base despite concerns.

According to Tamaki, the concentration of U.S. military bases in the southern prefecture threatens peace.

The governor of Okinawa made the remarks while delivering a speech at the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, addressing the worrying trend of increasing military power and building up tensions in Japan’s surrounding areas, which runs counter to the wishes of the people of Okinawa who long for peace.

Commenting on the U.S. base relocation project in the Henoko Coastal Area of Nago, Governor Tamaki said the Japanese government is forcibly filling in precious sea areas to build a new U.S. military base, regardless of the opinions of residents in Okinawa.

“Furthermore, the Japanese government is imposing the construction of a new american base in Okinawa by carrying out land reclamation work on our precious sea areas. The reclamation work proceeds despite the fact that it was clearly opposed by Okinawan voters in a democratically held referendum. We’re afraid that the buildup of military capabilities will increase tensions in the areas around Japan. This goes against the Okinawan people’s aspiration for peace,” according to Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki.

During his speech, Governor Tamaki said Okinawa hosts 70 percent of all the U.S. Military bases in Japan while accounting for only 0.6 percent of the country’s total land area.

More than 70 percent of local residents opposed the base construction on the Henoko landfill, according to the 2019 Okinawa prefecture voting results.

Before delivering his speech, Tamaki met with the UN Special Rapporteur and reported issues, including excessive levels of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances being detected in water around U.S. military bases in Japan.

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