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Assembly rejects governor’s travel plans a second time

Date Posted: 2008-11-14

Okinawa’s governor is still planning an official business trip to the United States, and the opposition-controlled Prefecture Assembly continues to stymie those plans.

Governor Hirokazu Nakaima began planning months ago, and the Assembly in September rejected funding for the trip, saying the pro-America governor would use the trip to promote the proposed Futenma Marine Corps Air Station relocation. “No, don’t give him money,” the opposition says, “because he is going to talk about Futenma transfer problems with the Americans and encourage a fast transfer to the site outside Henoko.” Opposition lawmakers say they remain “very much against his opinion. We don’t want to build the military facility outside Henoko.”

The governor pressed the Assembly again this week to approve travel funding, and the Assembly again said “No, we don’t want you to go to America.” The Prefecture has been explaining to each political party the merits of the trip, and how important it is Nakaima go to the U.S. to press for reduction of American bases on Okinawa. Staff members have talked to the Communist and Socialist Party leaders, as well as top officials of the Democratic Party of Japan, all of which oppose the trip.

Opposition group chairman Yonekichi Shinzato says “Governor Nakaima has to understand how many people are against him,” and says the governor is placing strain on everyone with his push for U.S. military reorganization.

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