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US ambassador makes first visit to Japan’s westernmost island


Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel

Yonaguni, Okinawa Pref. (Jiji Press) – U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel on Friday visited Yonaguni Island in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan’s westernmost island near Taiwan, in an apparent effort to contain China’s growing military pressure hold.

According to the American side, it was the first official trip to the island by an American ambassador.

Emanuel visited a lighthouse on the western tip of the island and a Ground Self-Defense Force base, and spoke with fishing workers at a port.

Speaking to reporters later, the ambassador pointed out that China continues to fish in the waters near Japan despite the ban on the import of Japanese fishing products. “China’s words are hypocritical,” he said.

Asked about the protests of some following his visit to the island, Emanuel replied: “In a democracy you are allowed to protest.”

Yonaguni Island is located about 110 kilometers east of Taiwan, making the self-governing island visible to the naked eye on sunny days.

Emanuel also visited nearby Ishigaki Island, also in Okinawa.

At a news conference in Tokyo on the same day, Japanese Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said the ambassador’s visit was helpful in deepening understanding of Tokyo’s efforts to strengthen defenses around the southwestern Nansei Islands, including Okinawa.

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