Japan's Okinawa governor says U.S. military base threatens peace

(Xinhua) 11:19, September 20, 2023

TOKYO, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki told a United Nations session on Monday in Switzerland that the concentration of U.S. military bases in the southern prefecture threatens peace.

He also expressed his opposition to the Japanese government's plan to build a new U.S. military base despite public concerns, according to local media reports.

Tamaki made the remarks while delivering a speech at a UN Human Rights Council meeting 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, he said that 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.

Before his speech, Tamaki also 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.

In 2015, former Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga at the council accused the U.S. and Japanese governments of ignoring and violating the rights of Okinawa residents, calling on the international community to take measures to support the Okinawa people's efforts to fight for self-determination.

The island prefecture of 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.

Earlier this month, Japan's Supreme Court turned down the Okinawa prefectural government's appeal against the central government's order related to landfill work, according to Kyodo news agency.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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