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Over 4,500 people pay respects to late Okinawa Gov. Onaga at funeral

People attend the funeral service for Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga, at Daitenji Temple, in the Okinawa Prefectural capital of Naha, on Aug. 13, 2018. (Pool)

NAHA -- More than 4,500 people including members of the political and business worlds attended Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga's funeral held at Daitenji Temple here on Aug. 13.

Attendees bid farewell to the leader who continued to oppose the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, to the Henoko district of the city of Nago, also in Okinawa. A photo of the late governor smiling was displayed on the altar.

"The biggest issue for the governors of Okinawa is the problem of the U.S. military installations," said former Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine, 84, during his memorial address. "The fact that you went as far as to risk your own life to take on this problem makes an impact on Japan as a whole. The heart of Okinawa that longs for peace, and which you protected so dearly, will be passed on to the next generation."

Onaga's predecessor Hirokazu Nakaima, 78, who approved the landfill project off the coast of Henoko for the construction of the new base, appeared at the gathering for a short time. He said he offered his condolences before leaving.

(Japanese original by Hiroshi Higa, Fukuoka News Department, and Takayasu Endo, Naha Bureau)

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