Okinawa Governor seeks support for US base issue at UN human rights meeting

Okinawa Governor Tamaki Denny sought support before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday for his opposition to the relocation of a US military facility within the prefecture.

Tamaki said, "I am here today to ask the world to witness the situation in Okinawa." He said US bases are concentrated in Okinawa, threatening peace, and equal participation in decision making.

Japan's central government has begun reclamation work to move the US Futenma Air Station from Ginowan City to the Henoko district in Nago City.

Tamaki said the Japanese government is building on precious waters and proceeding with the construction of a new base. He said, "The reclamation work proceeds despite the fact that it was clearly opposed by Okinawan voters in a democratically held referendum" in 2019.

Tamaki said building up military strength generates concern over heightening tension around Japan and runs counter to the wishes of the people of Okinawa for peace. He asked that relevant governments make more diplomatic efforts.

Tamaki is scheduled to stay in Geneva until Friday. He will speak before the council on two more occasions and meet with relevant UN officials.