Governor of Okinawa
Thursday, September 24, 2015, 13:30 - 14:30
Since he was elected last year, largely on expectations he would oppose the construction of a new US military base, Takeshi Onaga has managed to avoid directly confronting the Tokyo government. That time may be at an end. In early September, the Okinawa governor said he would revoke permits for construction of the base given by his predecessor.
The announcement came after a suspension of work on the base and a month of talks with the central government that, to nobody’s surprise, ended without agreement. Onaga now faces his political moment of truth. He has vowed to stop the base from being built. The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made equally clear that it intends to press ahead.
The stage is set for a face-off between the two sides, it appears, no more room for compromise.American military planners fingered Henoko beach in 1996 as their preferred relocation site for the U.S. Marine Futenma Air Base in Okinawa. The Tokyo government supports that choice. Most people on the Okinawa islands reject it and support the governor.
Will Onaga push ahead with his pledge and how will Abe’s government – and Washington - react? The governor has agreed to take 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.