US ambassador hails alliance during Okinawa visit

US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel has stressed the importance of the bilateral alliance during a visit to the westernmost island of Yonaguni in Okinawa Prefecture.

Emanuel inspected a cape on the western edge of the island on Friday. He is the first US ambassador to visit the island, which is about 110 kilometers from Taiwan.

Yonaguni Town Mayor Itokazu Kenichi accompanied the ambassador, and told him that Taiwan can be seen from the cape if weather and other conditions permit.

Speaking to reporters, Emanuel said, "The credibility of your deterrence is the best way to ensure you never have a war." He also pointed out that military drills are conducted to ensure the defense of all of Japan.

The ambassador then visited a fishery cooperative in the town. The fishers told him they were unable to fish for about a week after ballistic missiles fired by China in drills in August 2022 fell into Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone off Okinawa.

Emanuel told reporters that while China bans imports of Japanese marine products, Chinese boats continue fishing in the sea near Japan. He said, "China's words are hypocritical because China's words are in conflict with China's actions."

Later, Emanuel visited Ishigaki, another of Okinawa's islands, where he inspected a Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force camp and a Japan Coast Guard patrol ship.

Emanuel's visit to the islands in southwestern Japan was apparently aimed at keeping China in check.