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Assembly draws fire for vote against governor’s travel

Date Posted: 2008-10-16

Nago City officials are expressing irritation and anger over the opposition party-controlled Prefecture Assembly’s move to restrict funding for the governor’s travel to America.

Nago City’s mayor said he feels “very sorry about this,” and says he expects the governor will continue his U.S. trip “by his own money.” Yoshikazu Shimabukuro says “I want the governor to appear and talk about Japanese and American military reorganization, and how it should quickly and surely be done.”

Shimabukuro predicts that “from now on, the governor’s policies will be rejected by opposition party members, and American base problems will be skewed.” The Assembly voted October 10th to cut ¥14 million in travel expenditures from the new budget. The money was to be used by Governor Hirokazu Nakaima to visit the United States to meet with American leaders.

Nago City’s Chamber of Commerce chairman was also critical of the Assembly decision. “It’s nonsense to cut the governor’s expenses for going to America,” says Seishu Ogido. “The governor wants to convey the opinions of Okinawan people straight to America. Otherwise, the reorganization of the American military plan will be further delayed.”

Opposition party leaders, on the other hand, are elated by the Assembly decision to cut the funding. The opposition, which is opposed to transferring Futenma Marine Corps Air Station from Ginowan City to Henoko, in northern Okinawa, says “Of course we cut the expenses. The governor would appear there and talk about the new American base in Okinawa, and we are against building the new base.” One opposition lawmaker added “so how could we say yes, to give the budget for him. We don’t want to have any new bases at all.”

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