Okinawa Governor Keiichi Inamine took in some “R&R” — rest and relaxation — time in Hawaii in late May following a whirlwind 11-day trip to the continental U.S. The Governor began his mission in Washington, D.C., where he met with U.S. State Department officials, including calls on Secretary of State Colin Powell and Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage. He also met with U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye and Congressman Neil Abercrombie, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Foley, and military leaders for discussions on base issues.

Inamine then flew to New York City for meetings aimed at diversifying Okinawa’s economy. From New York, the Governor and his 10-member entourage — plus reporters from Okinawa — flew to San Jose for more business meetings, and then to Los Angeles, where he met with members of the Okinawa Association of America (L.A.’s Okinawan organization).

The Governor spent about a day-and-a-half in Honolulu, where he met with military officials at CINCPAC and dined with Consul General of Japan Minoru Shibuya. Prior to leaving Okinawa, he had requested some informal time with HUOA members and officers. A reception was held May 24 at the Hawaii Okinawa Center. (Governor Inamine was last in Hawaii in January 2000 for the opening program of the Okinawan Centennial Celebration.)

Inamine arrived comfortably dressed in a wine-colored European-collar shirt. He took time to mingle with people, visiting each table where he chit-chatted with club members. “I think it was the first time he had a chance to just relax,” observed HUOA President Jimmy Iha.

When it was time to leave, the Governor stepped not into a stretch limousine, but boarded a Robert’s Hawaii mini-bus with his entourage and the Okinawa media for the ride back to Waikiki. Shortly after noon the next day, he was on his way back to Okinawa.