Takeshi Onaga, Governor of Okinawa
Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 13:00 - 14:00
Ever since U.S. military planners fingered Henoko beach in 1996 as their preferred relocation site for the U.S. Marine Futenma Air Base in Okinawa, the choice has come under fire from the local communities. While everyone recognizes that the Marines need to leave the urban districts of Ginowan in southern Okinawa, for the people of that prefecture, the need is to move it off their islands entirely, and not to destroy one of their few remaining pristine natural coastlines.
Last November, in a decisive election in which the Henoko issue was the main theme, Takeshi Onaga -- former LDP conservative politician and now independent -- won in a landslide. Despite the fact that Onaga hails from the same political party that rules in Tokyo, he is a strong believer in Okinawa's unique identity and history, and so has proven willing to go toe-to-toe with the central government in steadfastly refusing to authorize construction of the Marine airbase.
Now, on the eve of his tour of the U.S. to establish Okinawa's own pipelines of communication to the U.S. government, he is taking time from his busy schedule to visit us at the FCCJ to explain his vision, his plans, and the reasons why he believes he can confront two of the world's most powerful governments and win.