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

From May 14 to 18, 2016, Governor Takeshi Onaga visited Washington, D.C. for the second time where he held a meeting with eight leading experts in Washington D.C. The Governor also met with 12 members of Congress sitting on both 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 the 6th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival and encouraged people to participate towards the success of the event.

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At the information session provided for the Okinawa Kai of Washington D.C., to make the 6th Worldwide Uchinanchu
Festival a success.

Meeting with Experts at Washington D.C.
Distinguished Attendees
(1)Professor Mike Mochizuki from George Washington University
(2)Michael E. O’Hanlon of Senior Fellow (Brookings Institution
(3)Professor Kent E. Calder, Director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies
(4)Rust M. Deming, Former Ambassador of the United States to Tunisia from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
(5)Professor William Brooks from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
(6)Thomas Reich, Former Consul General of U.S. Consulate General Naha
(7)Aloysius M. O’Neill, Former Consul General of U.S. Consulate General Naha
(8)Deputy Director Nicholas Szechenyi from CSIS, Japan Chair
A group of renowned security and Japan-U.S. relations experts in Washington, D.C. gathered for a very meaningful meeting.
Governor Onaga explained the court-mediated settlement with the Japanese government, statements given to the Central and Local Government Dispute Management Council, public opinion in Okinawa against the new base at Henoko, and his ideas, which are grounded in public sentiment, for preventing construction of the base. At the meeting, there was recognition of the difficulty of relocating the base to Henoko, questions raised about the relocation being the only solution, and statements made that were relevant to alternative proposals other than Henoko.

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Meeting with Experts: Members from Okinawa Prefecture

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Meeting with Experts: From the left, Senior Fellow Michael E. O’Hanlon and Professor Mochizuki

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Meeting with Experts: From the left, Former Ambassador Rust M. Deming, Professor Kent E. Calder, and Professor William Brooks

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Meeting with Experts: From the left, CSIS Deputy Director Nicholas Szechenyi, Former Consul General Thomas Reich and Former Consul General Aloysius M. O’Neill

Meeting with Members of Congress

Governor Onaga met with a total of 12 members of the United States Congress: 3 Senators and 9 Members of the House of Representatives (one meeting was with a congressman’s aide). Governor Onaga explained the court-mediated settlement with the Japanese government, statements given to the Central and Local Government Dispute Management Council, public opinion in Okinawa against the new base at Henoko, and his ideas, which are grounded in public sentiment, for preventing construction of the base.
The following are photographs and statements voiced by the members of Congress during these meetings.

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Thomas Cole, Member of the Subcommittee on Defense within the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations (Oklahoma, Republican)

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Tom Emmer, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. – Japan Congressional Caucus, (Minnesota, Republican)

・ I would like to look into the background of what the Governor has talked about.
・ I understand that this is an important issue for the people of Okinawa.
・ I want to carefully follow the status of the construction work.
・ I realize that this is also an environmental issue.

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Betty McCollum, Member of the Subcommittee on Defense within the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations (Minnesota, Democrat)

・ Congresswoman McCollum met with Governor Onaga on the condition that any statements about the meeting would not be publicized, but they had a very pleasant meeting.

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Mazie Hirono, U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services (Hawaii, Democrat)

Congresswoman Hirono met with Governor Onaga on the condition that any statements about the meeting would not be publicized, but they had a very pleasant meeting.

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Thad Cochran, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations (Mississippi, Republican)

・ Senator Cochran asked, “Has a special envoy been sent to listen to what the governor and the people of Okinawa are saying, and discuss a solution?”
・ The Governor stated, “Both the Japanese and the U.S. governments repeatedly say that Henoko is the only solution. I would be grateful if there were some arrangements so that the United States could directly hear what the people of Okinawa are saying.”

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Rob Wittman, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Readiness within the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services, (Virginia, Republican)

・ It is my perception that the move to Guam will be made and land south of Kadena will be returned.
・ I will carefully watch developments between Okinawa Prefecture and the Japanese government with regard to Henoko.

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Madeleine Bordallo, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services (Guam, Democrat)

・ Although there was no scheduled meeting, we were able to find time to exchange greetings.

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Alan Lowenthal, Member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific within the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs (California, Democrat)

・Congressman Lowenthal met with Governor Onaga on the condition that any statements about the meeting would not be publicized, but they had a very pleasant meeting.

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Austin Scott, Member of the Subcommittee on Readiness within the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services (Georgia, Republican)

・ I understand there is opposition to the new base. Where should it be relocated? Should it be reduced in size?

・ The bilateral relationship between Japan and the United States is important, so I want to respect people’s opinions.
Matt Salmon, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific within the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs (Arizona, Republican)

・ Because the Congressman had to rush to vote on legislation, his aide met with Governor Onaga and the Washington D.C. Office representatives.

Steve Israel, Member of the Subcommittee on Defense within the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations (New York, Democrat)

・Time ran out on the meeting when the Congressman asked whether Okinawa has been excluded from discussions between Japan and the U.S. about the future of the bases.

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Shelley Moore Capito, Member of the Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies within the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations (West Virginia, Republican)

・It was very helpful to hear what the Governor had to say.
・I think that talking to many people about the governor’s dilemma and other issues will be helpful for others to understand what’s happening.

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Press Conference at the Washington D.C. Office

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Meeting with former Vice President Walter Mondale

・ A meeting was held with the former Vice President in Minneapolis.
・ Governor Onaga acknowledged the achievement of Walter Mondale, the then U.S. Ambassador to Japan and Prime Minister Hashimoto reaching an agreement to return Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in 1996. He then explained the subsequent twists and turns that the issue has taken up to the current point in time where no solution is in sight as well as the present situation in Okinawa.
・ Former Vice President Mondale warmly welcomed Governor Onaga, and accommodated him by graciously extending the meeting longer than was originally planned.
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