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Okinawa’s Business and Military Elite Meet at ACCO Party

By: Brandon Arakaki

Date Posted: 2000-01-22

Okinawa’s top business and military elite all seemed to be in the best of spirits last Thursday, January 14th, as they gathered in one of the Laguna Garden’s gala halls to exchange New Year wishes with each other. It was on the occasion of the fourth annual International Friendship “Shin-nen Kai” organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Okinawa, in collaboration with the US Consulate-General.

The hall was full of some of Okinawa’s most influential businessmen - Americans, Japanese, and economic operators of other nationalities. Also present at the friendship event - which offered the best occasion for exchange of business cards with people one was meeting for the first time - were several American military officers and their Japanese Self-Defense Forces counterparts.

Notable among the Japanese business VIPs present at the occasion were - among others - Shinsuke Tomoyori, Speaker of the Okinawa Prefecture Assembly; Haruichi Miyagi, Director of the Okinawa Prefecture Chamber of Commerce and Labor Department; Mr. Takao Ito, Director General of the Okinawa Office of Posts and Telecommunications; Charles Chen of the Sino-Ryukuan Cultural and Economic Association, Mr. Norio Ohta, Chairman of the Okinawa Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Mr. Kosei Yonemura, Managing Director, Naha Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Masaharu Minei, Chairman, Okinawa Power Company; Akiya Miyazato, President of Ryuku Shimpo; Ryokoh Shimabukuro, General Director of NHK Okinawa Bureau; and Seikin Miyazato, President of the Okinawa Tourist Bureau.

Some Japanese SDF leaders at the party were Maj. General Taiji Fujii, CDR of the 83rd Air Group; Maj. General Fujio Hayashi, Vice CDR of the Japan Air Self-Defense Forces, Southwest Composite Air Division; Colonel Hiroshi Gyootoku, CDR, JSDF Okinawa Liaison Office; Captain Sadayoshi Matsuoka, the Chief Staff Officer of JMSDF Air Wing Five. Some US Military officers in the hall were Col. Robert McNeil, Commander, 10th Area Support Group; Col. Merri B. Uckert, Commander, 18th Support Group; Lt. Col. John Freund, Okinawa Area Field Office; Col. David T. Rann, AC/S, G-5, Marine Corps Base; and Cap. John L. Green, Commander, Fleet Activities Okinawa.

According to addresses delivered during the International Friendship Shin-nen Kai by US Consul General Robert Luke and the American Chamber of Commerce Okinawa Chairman Charles McDermott, the gathering was meant to be part of their “continuing effort to explore and strengthen multi-community business relations” - especially in this year of the G8 Summit.

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