Former Okinawa Governor Ōta Masahide Dies at 92 (News)


Naha, Okinawa Pref., June 12 (Jiji Press)—Former Okinawa Governor and House of Councillors member Ōta Masahide, who worked to reduce the southern Japan prefecture's burden of hosting U.S. military bases, died of pneumonia at a hospital in the prefectural capital of Naha on Monday. He was 92.

Ōta was born in the Okinawa town of Kumejima. While studying at a teachers' school, he experienced the Battle of Okinawa, a grueling ground battle at the end of World War II, as a member of a troop made up of boys.

He graduated from Waseda University and finished his master's degree at Syracuse University in New York.

After working in positions such as professor at the University of the Ryūkyūs, he was elected as Okinawa governor for the first time in 1990 and served two terms totaling eight years.

As Okinawa governor, Ōta participated in a rally that organizers claimed brought 85,000 people together to protest the 1995 rape of a local schoolgirl by US servicemen stationed in the prefecture.

Former Okinawa Governor Ōta Masahide talks to the press in December 1995 after refusing to sign documents necessary to renew leases for land used by US military bases. (© Jiji)

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Okinawa Jiji Press Henoko Ota Masahide