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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07NAHA21
2007-01-30 08:52:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Consulate Naha
Cable title:  

COURTESY CALL BY TOP US COMMANDING GENERAL IN OKINAWA ON

Tags:   MARR  PINS  JA 
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RUALBCC/YOKOTA AB HQ USFJ
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 NAHA 000021 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 1/30/2032
TAGS: MARR PINS JA
SUBJECT: COURTESY CALL BY TOP US COMMANDING GENERAL IN OKINAWA ON
PREFECTURAL GOVERNOR A GOOD OMEN

CLASSIFIED BY: Kevin K. Maher, Consul General, U.S. Consulate
General Naha, U.S. Department of State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)





1. (C) Summary: The tone of the January 26 courtesy call by
the senior US military official in Okinawa on the new governor
of Okinawa Prefecture was warm and friendly. In a break from
previous administrations, Governor Hirokazu NAKAIMA refrained
from lecturing LtGen Joseph Weber on Okinawan history or reading
a laundry list of complaints regarding the US military.
Instead, Nakaima focused on ways the U.S. military might further
contribute to the Okinawan economy. End Summary.



2. (U) On January 26 Lieutenant General Joseph R. Weber,
commanding general of the III Marine Expeditionary Force and
Okinawa Area Coordinator, paid a courtesy call on Okinawa
Prefecture Governor Hirokazu NAKAIMA. Nakaima, who took office
just one month previously, thanked Weber for calling and said it
was important for the US military and Okinawa Prefectural
Government (OPG) to establish close, direct lines of
communication. Weber agreed that direct, open communications
were essential to working through and resolving problems, and
building a healthy, trusting relationship. Nakaima requested the
military continue to try to reduce incidents and accidents in
order to minimize tension between local citizens and the US
military. Weber replied he knew Nakaima had campaigned on a
platform that included "zero incidents and accidents," and he
was committed to that goal as well.



3. (U) Vice Governor Zenki NAKAZATO noted that OPG and US
military leaders once had reciprocal house parties and golf
outings, and Nakaima said he wanted to resume that tradition.
Nakaima noted that during his tenure as chairman of the Okinawa
Electric Power Company, he had played golf with Weber, and he
would like to start doing that again. Nakaima also noted he
intended to visit US Marine Corps facilities on January 30.
Weber said he was pleased with Nakaima's planned visits, and he
would be welcome anytime.



4. (U) Nakaima thanked Weber for Service members' volunteering
for the English Language Assistance Program, an English as a
second language program to help Okinawans develop practical
English skills. He also mentioned his appreciation that Okinawa
college students could attend on-base college classes, providing
an opportunity similar to studying abroad, but at a much lower
cost. Weber noted that the English language program was just
one example of Service members' volunteer programs that helped
build friendly relations with host communities.

NAHA 00000021 002 OF 003





5. (U) Nakaima sought Weber's assistance on three
economic/commercial issues. First, for local producers to have
the opportunity to place more Okinawa products in military

post/base exchanges and commissaries. Nakaima explained that
sales within military facilities would generate profits as well
as serve as test markets for potential exports to the United
States. Weber said he would consider and research how to get
more local products into the military shopping areas.



6. (U) Nakaima also asked Weber to assist in getting direct
commercial flights between Okinawa and the United States,
specifically Hawaii. Nakaima said he had been working
indirectly with two airlines to convince them to offer such
service. Weber noted there were reduced military air flights
available for Service members in Okinawa, so he shared the
governor's interest in establishing direct commercial flights
between the United States and Okinawa. Finally, Nakaima asked
Weber if he would think of other ways to assist in developing
Okinawa's economy, and noted he had made the same request of
Consul General Maher in a separate meeting. Weber agreed that
developing the Okinawan economy was important, and to do what he
could.



7. (C) USFJ Okinawa Area Field Office (OAFO) Comment: It was
significant that Nakaima, unlike previous administrations, chose
to avoid lecturing Weber and instead, expressed a desire to
establish a closer relationship between OPG and the US military.
Furthermore, he did this publicly, in the presence of the
media. OAFO received a copy of talking points prepared by OPG
staff for Nakaima a few days before the courtesy call. Those
talking points included what would have been standard for
Nakaima's predecessor, Keiichi INAMINE. Before the courtesy
call, OPG staff notified OAFO that the governor had rejected the
talking points and would have his own agenda, which was largely
positive. Although it may still be too early to assess the
climate and direction of the Nakaima administration, this
meeting was encouraging and may indicate that the political
environment on Okinawa is maturing and could result into a more
positive, realistic relationship with the U.S. military. End
OAFO Comment.



8. (C) Comment: ConGen Naha concurs in OAFO comment. ConGen
notes that Nakaima's January 30 visit to Marine Corps bases is
an unprecedented and welcome OPG outreach, apparently directed
at better understanding US military issues. End comment.

Participants:
OPG:
Okinawa Prefecture Governor Hirokazu Nakaima

NAHA 00000021 003 OF 003


Okinawa Prefecture Vice Governor Zenki Nakazato
OPG Director General Yoritaka Hanashiro

USG:
III Marine Expeditionary Force Commanding General LtGen Joseph
Weber
USFJ Okinawa Area Field Office Chief COL Mark Franklin
USFJ Okinawa Area Field Office Pol-Mil Liaison Hisae Freeman
MAHER