Okinawa governor urges support to relocate US base

Tokyo, Sep 22 (IANS) The governor of Japan’s southernmost prefecture of Okinawa has called for international support for his opposition to a plan to relocate a US military base within the region, the media reported on Tuesday.

Governor Takeshi Onaga addressed a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, NHK news agency reported.

He said local people’s rights to self-determination and human rights have been neglected. He said US military bases have been the cause of incidents, accidents and environmental problems in the prefecture for 70 years since the Second World War ended.

The Okinawa governor criticised the central government for ignoring local people’s will by pushing ahead with the relocation plan. He vowed to block the move using every possible means.

Japan’s Ambassador to the UN office in Geneva Misako Kaji responded to Onaga’s statement on behalf of the Japanese government.

She said the relocation of US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station to Henoko is the only way to ensure both deterrence by the presence of US forces and a removal of risk.

Kaji said the central government has been implementing the plan based on relevant laws and approval given by the previous Okinawa governor.

She added the government will continue to provide the prefecture with thorough explanations to obtain its understanding on the matter.

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