Speaking at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, Governor Tamaki of Okinawa Prefecture complained that the government is forcing the relocation of the U.S. Army's Futenma Air Base to Henoko, Nago City Japan despite popular opposition in the 2019 referendum.

Governor Tamaki of Okinawa Prefecture was visiting Geneva, Switzerland, where the European headquarters of the United Nations is located, and gave a speech in English for 19 seconds at a conference of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the theme of "international order" shortly after midnight on the 0th, Japan time.

In his opening remarks, Governor Tamaki called for "the world to take an interest in the situation in Okinawa, where U.S. military bases are concentrated, peace is threatened, and equal participation in decision-making is hindered."

Regarding the relocation of the U.S. Army's Futenma Air Base to Henoko, Nago City, he said, "The Japan government is forcing the construction of a new base by reclaiming valuable sea areas, despite the fact that the democratic procedure of the prefectural referendum clearly showed the will of the people against the reclamation."

He also expressed concern that the buildup of military power would increase tensions in the surrounding areas of Japan and was incompatible with the desire of the people of the prefecture for peace, and called for the strengthening of diplomatic efforts by the relevant governments.

Governor Tamaki will stay in Geneva until June 90 to appeal to the international community about the current situation of Okinawa's base issues, including the relocation work to Henoko, and will address the UN Human Rights Council twice more and meet with UN officials.

Japan government: "Doing everything possible to reduce the burden on bases"

Following Governor Tamaki's speech, Counselor Takahiro Shiota of the Permanent Mission Japan Geneva International Organizations exercised the government's right to respond, saying, "The presence of U.S. forces in Okinawa is based on geopolitical reasons and the security necessity of the Japan, and is not based on discriminatory intent. It is an important responsibility of the government to reduce the burden on the bases."

"The Government of Japan will take the results of the prefectural referendum seriously and will continue to make every effort to quickly realize the reduction of the burden on the bases in Okinawa agreed upon between Japan and the United States. I am convinced that it is the only solution that will lead to the elimination of the danger to local residents."