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Okinawa Prefectural Government Washington D.C. Office Activities

For the Governor’s first visit to the United States from May to June 2015, the Washington D.C. Office coordinated meetings with the State Department, the Defense Department, members of Congress, think tanks and others. They also arranged a reception as well as a joint press conference at the National Press Club of the Governor and accompanying members including the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly members at the National Press Club.

The Washington D.C. Office has been providing the United States government members of Congress and their staffs, think tanks, as well as Okinawan Communities in the U.S. with information about Okinawa’s public opinion in opposition to construction of a new base at Henoko, the Governor’s attitude to prevent construction of the base, and an accurate picture of the actual situation in Okinawa. In this way, the office has been working to build cooperative relationships while exchanging views on these many issues.

Supporting the Governor’s Second Visit to the United States

The Washington D.C. Office arranged Governor Onaga’s visit to the United States from May 14 to 18, 2016, during which he held meetings with experts, met with 12 members of the U.S. Congress, and held talks with former Vice President Mondale.

Additionally, in cooperation with the Okinawa Kai of Washington D.C., the Washington D.C. Office held an information session explaining the 6th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival.

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Governor Onaga Meeting With Members of Congress
Additional photos of the Governor’s US visit

 

Discussions with the U.S. Government and Congress

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Meetings with members of Congress and Congressional staff (photo of meeting with the Honorable Madeleine Bordallo, member of the US House of Representatives)

Although there are still differences of opinions, the Washington D.C. Office steadfastly seeks a better understanding of and cooperation on issues related to Okinawa.

 

The Washington D.C. Office met with Director of the Office of Japanese Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, to communicate a message from Governor Onaga and explain the situation in Okinawa.

In order to gain a greater understanding and cooperation on the situation in Okinawa, the Washington D.C. Office provides timely and frequent explanations of Okinawa’s public opinion in opposition to the new base at Henoko, the Governor’s firm resolution to prevent its construction, and accurate briefings of the situation in Okinawa.

 

Visits to the Offices of Six Members of the U.S. House of Representatives at the Cannon House Office Building

The Washington D.C. Office visited the offices of six members of the U.S. House of Representatives, who had previously had no association with Okinawa, to explain that the Okinawa Prefectural Government established an office in Washington D.C. last year in 2015, and to provide them with material about Okinawa, the Governor’s thoughts among other information.

 

Hand-Written Letter from U.S. Congressman Tom Emmer to the Washington D.C. Office

In gratitude for the handwritten letter from Congressman Tom Emmer, with whom Governor Onaga met during his visit in May 2016, Director Henzan visited the Congressman’s office at the Cannon House Office Building to personally deliver a reply. Congressman’s office agreed with the Washington D.C. office to continue to work together.

Letter from the Honorable Tom Emmer, member of the U.S. House of Representatives

Reply from Director Hideo Henzan

 

Visits to the Offices of Nine Members of the U.S. Senate at the Russell Senate Office Building

The Washington D.C. Office visited nine offices of members of the U.S. Senate, who had previously had no association with Okinawa, to explain that the Okinawa Prefectural Government established an office in Washington D.C. last year in 2015, and to provide them with material about Okinawa, the Governor’s thoughts among other information.

 

Meeting with Aide to Senator James Inhofe

The Washington D.C. Office met with an aide to Senator James Inhofe to tell that it was unfortunate Gov. Onaga was not able to meet with Sen. Inhofe while the Governor’s visit last May, but that the Governor did have meaningful meetings with 12 members of Congress during his visit. The D.C. office also provided an explanation of the current situation in Okinawa and exchanged views with the Senator’s aide.

The aide also asked positive questions and there was a meaningful exchange of opinions.

 

Visits to the Offices of Eight Members of the U.S. Senate at the Hart Senate Office Building

The Washington D.C. Office visited eight offices of members of the U.S. Senate, who had previously had no association with Okinawa, to explain that the Okinawa Prefectural Government established an office in Washington D.C. last year in 2015 and to provide materials among other information.

 

Meeting with Aide to Senator Bill Cassidy

The Washington D.C. Office met with an aide to Bill Cassidy to tell that it was unfortunate Gov. Onaga was not able to meet with Sen. Cassidy were unable to meet during the Governor’s visit last May, but that the Governor did have meaningful meetings with 12 members of Congress during his visit. The D.C. office also provided an explanation of the current situation in Okinawa and exchanged views with the Senator’s aide.

In addition, the Washington D.C. Office also provided a packet of materials about Okinawa, the Governor’s thoughts among other information.

Letter in English from Governor Onaga

 

Exchange of Views with Analysts at the Congressional Research Service

A week before the Congressional Research Service was scheduled to release to Congress an update of its report “Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress,” the Washington D.C. Office exchanged views and answered questions from CRS analysts in advance of the report’s release.

The Washington D.C. Office sent informational letters to 22 aides and other staff affiliated with members of the Senate and House of Representatives’ committees on armed services and foreign relations to provide up-to-date information in an effective manner about the court-mediated settlement between the Japanese government and Okinawa Prefectural Government on March 4 2016, suspension of reclamation work at Henoko, and other related information on construction of the new base at Henoko.

Informational letter sent to the U.S. Congress

 

Meeting with the Okinawa American Association of New York

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During a business trip to New York, the Washington D.C. Office met with Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez and Mr. and Mrs. Ochiai. Mr. Rodriguez serves as vice president of the Okinawa American Association of New York and everyone in his family has earned black belts in Goju style karate. Mr. Ochiai is an instructor of the Nomura style of sanshin. Both are active in New York where they work to promote Okinawan culture and performing arts.

For the staff of the Washington D.C. Office, encounters like this are the most encouraging part of our activities.

Attending the Installation of the New President of JETRO New York Office.

Representatives of the Washington D.C. Office were invited to attend an installation ceremony of Mr. Tanaka as the new president of the JETRO New York Office.

Mr. Yokota, the former president of the JETRO New York Office, had made a courtesy call to the Washington D.C. Office in July of 2015, where we discussed a variety of issues. At the installation ceremony, the Washington D.C. Office representatives expressed their hope that President Tanaka and Vice President Sugimoto would visit the Washington D.C. Office in the near future.

 

Members of the Okinawa Kai of Washington D.C. Donate Books to the George Washington University Okinawa Collection

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Ms. Maeshiro, former president of the Okinawa Kai of Washington D.C., made a donation of books to the Okinawa Collection at George Washington University.

The George Washington University was very pleased to receive the gift, which included many valuable publications, and sent an official letter of appreciation to former president Ms. Maeshiro.

Ms. Maeshiro had initially contacted the Washington D.C. Office, which extended its assistance in coordinating with the University and transporting the books. The office will continue to promote efforts so that the Okinawa Collection is enjoyed not only by Okinawan Americans but everyone in the United States.

 

Meeting with the Okinawa Collection staff at George Washington University Library

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The Washington D.C. Office accompanied Ms. Nakama, a senior staff member of the Okinawa Prefectural Government Culture Promotion Division who was in the U.S. for training purposes, visited the Washington D.C. Office and met with the staff entrusted with the Okinawa Collection.

Director Zeljak and Librarian Sato explained that the collection was steadily growing, and there are plans to expand the area where the Okinawa Collection is housed within the library.

In addition, they reported that, in accordance with instructions by Professor Mike Mochizuki who oversees the Okinawa Collection, plans are being made to hold a conference and set up a website in collaboration with the Washington D.C. Office, which will proceed in conjunction with categorization of the books already housed in the collection.

At the George Washington University library, Ms. Sato, the only librarian who is able to undertake the advanced categorization work for Japanese books, so we think she has undertaken a significant burden, but she said the work is very rewarding.

 

Events in Connection with the Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival

Representatives of the Washington D.C. Office visited the IACE Travel Washington D.C. branch to express their gratitude for setting up a special Okinawa display at their office. They reported that the number of applicants from the Washington D.C. area for the upcoming Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival in October, 2016 has surpassed that of the previous festival. The representatives asked for IACE Travel’s continued cooperation in promoting the festival.

 

Exchanging views with George Washington University Professor Mike Mochizuki

Representatives of the Washington D.C. Office exchanged views with Professor Mike Mochizuki about developing and expanding the Okinawa Collection, which was set up last year in 2015 at the George Washington University Library.

Professor Mike Mochizuki proposed holding a conference under an agenda regarding how to develop Okinawa-related research in the United States and how to sophisticate the Okinawa Collection. Professor Mochizuki also made proposals for collaborating with other libraries in Washington D.C. such as the Library of Congress, as well as the University of Maryland and other surrounding communities.

 

Meeting with Columbia University Student and Researcher Cohen

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Columbia University Researcher Cohen visited the Washington D.C. Office to exchange opinions with the staff. Mr. Cohen plans to conduct research in Okinawa for approximately one month this coming August.

The Washington D.C. Office believes that it is very important to support young researchers in the United States who are seeking to be specialists in Okinawa research so that issues related to Okinawa will be resolved in the future. In that light, the Washington D.C. Office continues to extend such assistance.

 

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Professor Kuniyoshi (center) of the University of the Ryukyus Hospital visited the Washington D.C. Office while he was in Washington D.C. to give a presentation at an academic conference. Professor Kuniyoshi paid a courtesy call to the Washington D.C. Office where they exchanged views on several topics.

At one of the most prestigious conferences worldwide, Professor Kuniyoshi gave a presentation on the superior surgical method he has developed over 30 years ago in Okinawa for treating Budd-Chiari syndrome.

 

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The Washington D.C. Office provided posters and other advertising materials for the Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival to IACE Travel, a Japanese travel agency in Washington D.C., which set up a special Okinawa corner at their branch office.

 

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At the New Year’s celebration sponsored by the Okinawa Kai of Washington D.C., the Washington D.C. Office representatives promoted the Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival.

 

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Professor William Brooks of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies invited a representative of the Washington D.C. Office to give a special lecture to his seminar students on Okinawan base issues among others.

 

Governor Onaga’s Visit to the U.S.

Governor Onaga’s Second Visit to Washington D.C.

From May 14 to the 18, 2016, Governor Takeshi Onaga visited Washington D.C. for the second time where he held a conference with eight leading experts in Washington D.C. The Governor also met with 12 members of Congress sitting on House and Senate committees on appropriations, armed services and foreign relations. He explained his stand as Governor as well as the situation of the U.S. bases in Okinawa, including relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. He called for greater understanding and cooperation in promoting a resolution of these issues.

The Governor’s meeting with former Vice President Mondale was particularly significant as he was able to gain an understanding of the circumstances at the time an agreement was reached for the total return of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

In addition, the Governor promoted and encouraged people to participate and cooperate in the 6th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival toward the success of the event.

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Meeting with former Vice President Walter Mondale

Photos of meetings with other distinguished figures during Governor Onaga’s second visit to Washington, D.C.

 

Governor Onaga’s First Visit to the United States

From May 30 to June 4, 2015, Governor Takeshi Onaga visited the United States and had the opportunity to meet directly with 19 people from the State Department and Department of Defense, members of Congress and other recognized experts. It was very meaningful that the Governor was able to explain the situation Okinawa faces in a detailed and accurate manner through those meetings.

A particularly noteworthy outcome of the Governor’s visit was his meeting with Senator John McCain, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services and Senator Jack Reed, the Ranking member on the committee. Senator McCain expressed his desire to continue a constructive dialogue with Governor Onaga.

Consideration is being made for Governor Onaga to visit the United States as the need arises.

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Meeting with Senator McCain, Chairman of the U.S. Armed Services Committee and Vice Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Reed

Photos of other meetings from Governor Onaga’s first visit to the United States

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