Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki said Friday that he will attend a U.N. meeting in Geneva to explain to the international community why he is opposed to the planned relocation of a key U.S. base within the southernmost Japan prefecture.
Tamaki, set to visit the Swiss city on Sept. 18-21, is against the Japanese government's plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air station in Ginowan to the Henoko coastal district in Nago, both in Okinawa.
At the upcoming meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council, the governor plans to highlight the fact that Okinawa accounts for only 0.6 pct of Japan's total land area but hosts 70.3 pct of all facilities in Japan for exclusive use by U.S. forces, over half a century after Okinawa was returned to Japan from U.S. occupation, which began after World War II ended 78 years ago.
"It's important to appeal to a wide range of people about how absurd the situation in Okinawa is and how the prefecture is facing inequality in terms of human rights," Tamaki said, while noting that Okinawa residents' opposition to the relocation plan has been demonstrated in three gubernatorial elections since 2014 and a 2019 prefectural referendum.
At the meeting, Tamaki is expected to get multiple chances to speak, including in a session on international order and a session on toxic substances.