Onaga reiterates his stance on Futenma relocation, casino

Okinawa’s new Governor Takeshi Onaga answered questions from the Prefectural Assembly for the first time, Tuesday.

Regarding the issue of the MCAS Futenma relocation, Onaga said that the most important policy of the Prefectural Government is to stop the construction of the new base, and try to realize his election promises.  Onaga again indicated that he is verifying the approval documentation of the landfill permit, and is expecting to be able to revoke the permission.  He reiterated that he would launch a professional team to examine the issue soon.

While Onaga acknowledges the necessity of the Japan- U.S. Security Treaty, he pointed out that it’s unreasonable that 74% of the U.S. military bases in Japan are on Okinawa alone.  He stressed that existence of the U.S. military bases on Okinawa has hampered local economic development.  “If the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is so important, the base matter should be tackled by the nation as a whole,” he said. Onaga explained that he would keep pressing the Japanese Government for reducing the excessive burden of the U.S. military bases in Okinawa.

To a question regarding the integrated resort business including a possible establishment of a gambling casino, Onaga explained that in his opinion, “It would negatively impact the steady existing tourism industry of Okinawa, and in addition create concerns of a negative effect on local communities, like increasing gambling addiction among residents.”