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Prime Minister Koizumi to visit Okinawa Saturday

Date Posted: 2001-06-22

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will pay a short one-day visit to Okinawa Saturday for the first time since he took the office. He will visit in order to participate in a memorial service for the war dead in Okinawa, to be held in Itoman City. Koizumi will be the fourth Prime Minster ever to participate the service. He is also scheduled to visit National Okinawa War Dead Cemetery and the Peace Monument.

The astoundingly popular Prime Minister announced his intension to participate in the service during a Lower House Budget Committee meeting on May 22. At the meeting, he stated that Okinawa bears too large a burden regarding the U.S. bases in the prefecture, and the government wants to take as much action as possible to help Okinawa’s development. Commenting on the possibility of cutting the number of U.S. troops and bases in the prefecture, Koizumi said, “It is the hope of both Okinawans and Japanese citizens to reduce the U.S. military presence in Okinawa. We will have to demand the U.S. government makes greater efforts to lessen the burden.”

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