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New Naha Mayor Attends JSDF Air Base Festival

Date Posted: 2000-12-15

The newly elected Naha City MayTakeshi Onaga paid a visit to the Japan Self Defense Force Naha Air Base open house festival, Sunday. It was the first visit by a Naha mayor to the facility since the reversion of Okinawa to Japanese rule in 1972.

After his visit, Onaga defended his visit by saying that it is only natural for him to visit the base. "We have to admire the job that our self defense forces are doing. To me it is unpardonable that Naha mayors have refused to aknowledge the existence of this base in our area," Onaga said.

Onaga's visit was welcomed by Naha Air Base officials. "This is very good news for us. After 38 years we finally see that local politicians understand our mission," Naha Air Base Commander Col. Yasushi Fujii said.

Onaga, who took office Dec. 1, has won many admirers during his first few days in office. In one of his first edicts he declared that he would not need a car and driver for his commute to work from his residence in Naha's Oroku district. Instead, he commutes to and from work on a bicycle. The mayor's office says that this means savings of more than 6 million a year for the city's strapped finances.

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