Okinawans hopeful Trump administration will bring positive changes
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Okinawa’s governor plans to travel to Washington to lobby the new White House administration against relocation plans for a U.S. air base within the southern island prefecture.
The election of Donald Trump brought supporters of Gov. Takeshi Onaga and anti-base activists a glimmer of hope for changes to U.S. policy that could halt base construction plans decades in the making.
Onaga will arrive Jan. 30 and stay until Feb. 4, said a spokesman for the Okinawa Prefectural Government’s military affairs office. Onaga plans to meet with senior officials of the state and defense departments and members of Congress, although the meetings have yet to be scheduled. The governor will voice his opposition to moving Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from busy Ginowan to the island’s remote north. He also plans to speak at a symposium at George Washington University on Feb. 2.
It’s unlikely he’ll get an audience with Trump; typically, presidents meet with other heads of state on matters regarding bilateral relations. This is Onaga’s third U.S. lobbying trip since he took office in 2014.
Trump’s security policy in the Asia-Pacific region remains speculative.
His campaign-trail demands that Japan pay more than the billions it is spending on U.S. military bases and realignment aren’t being taken seriously by some in Japan’s ruling government.
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