HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga is in Hawaii, the first stop of his 10-day U.S. trip, where he hopes to make his case to federal officials against relocating U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the Henoko area in northern Okinawa.
Onaga arrived in Honolulu on Wednesday where he already met with U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and U.S. Brian Schatz, discussing his stance on the military base. He will also hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach.
Onaga has been vocal about relocating the base from Ginowan, a populated city in Okinawa, to Henoko, a remote area of Okinawa's main island, saying a U.S. military base should be removed altogether. He also accused Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of looking down on Okinawa and its people.
In 1996, the U.S. and Japan agreed to close the Futenma base and relocate it. Thousands of Okinawans have been protesting the move, citing environmental concerns.
Although Onaga hasn't laid out his full itinerary on his U.S. trip, he is also expected to meet with Hawaii Gov. David Ige at some point. Onaga's next stop is Washington, D.C., where he will continue to urge lawmakers, policy experts and the general American public against the relocation.