News Release

The Okinawa Japan Temple - Dedication Committee Organized

What’s happening right now?

The Okinawa Japan Temple was announced by President Russell M. Nelson in April 2019. A year later, in May 2020, the location was revealed—right next to the Okinawa District Building at 7-11 Matsumoto-cho, Okinawa City. And, on December 5, 2020, ground was broken for the temple.

Since then, members of the Church in Okinawa have been eagerly watching and waiting for 2 ½ years as the walls rise, trees and flowers are planted, and the final touches are made on the beautiful island temple.

In March 2023, the front name stone was revealed; it seemed that the temple was finished and ready.

Then, on April 18, the First Presidency announced the open house and dedication dates: September 23 – October 7th, with special media and VIP guests visiting on September 21st and 22nd; and Elder Gary E. Stevenson dedicating the temple a few weeks later on November 12th.

Additionally, on April 28th Hiroshi Kinjo and Takako Asato Kinjo were announced as temple president and matron.

Step by step, pieces are falling into place for the opening of the Okinawa Japan Temple. But the open house and dedication dates are still months away.

So, what’s happening now?

Behind the scenes, there is a flurry of preparation activity.

First of all, in January, local Church leaders met with temple representatives from Salt Lake City and shared opinions and insights on how the temple could operate most efficiently and effectively in Okinawa.

Additionally, Yoshitake and Atsuko Asato of the Okinawa Stake were called to serve as open house and dedication committee coordinators.

“President Hinckley said, ‘Where there is faith, build a temple.’ It is a great blessing and joy to have such a wonderful residence of the Lord in this small land of Okinawa,” reflected Brother Asato. “It is the gift of the faithfulness of all who have prayed with love and faith far beyond the veil, adding their own faith and works. Through this assignment, I have renewed my determination to love the Lord and the temple even more, and accelerate the work of salvation for the sons and daughters of Heavenly Father on both sides of the veil.”

Under the Asato’s direction, open house subcommittee chairmen were also called:

Yoshito and Aiko Omine – Executive Secretaries

Nettie Francis – Communications

Seigo Oshiro – Finance

Paul Campbell – Historical

Abe and Zena Summers – Hosting

Hisashi Taira – Music

Taishi Arakaki – Parking and Transportation

Chad Baumgartner – Physical Facility

Jake Johnson – Safety and Security

Mitsuo Chabata - Technology

Yoshiharu and Rie Miyagi – Ushers

Committee members are working to coordinate parking, special events, food, invitations, ushers, etc. for a beautiful and memorable open house and dedication.

In February, two more representatives came from Salt Lake City: Kim Farah from the Church Communications and Mark Robbins from the Church Temple Department. Open house committee members were trained and given guidance on their specific assignments.

“It was so exciting to meet for the first time as a committee and learn about our specific assignments and tasks,” shared Nettie Francis, Communications subcommittee chair. “Working on the temple communications sub-committee has been exhilarating. We have members from the Okinawa Stake and Okinawa District and it’s wonderful to plan together through our different languages and cultures to prepare for the open house.”

Abe and Zena Summers, hosting subcommittee chairs added, “We love serving on the hosting committee because we get to work with our Japanese and American brothers and sisters. They have great insights on how to prepare for the media representatives and VIPs. We hope to make visitors feel welcomed with refreshments as they conclude their tour of the temple.”

The committees are busy preparing, but as open house and dedication dates approach, how can members in Japan support the events? Here are a few ideas:

  • Share the open house dates with your neighbors and friends, even if they don't live in Okinawa. “We anticipate people coming in from other islands and countries to view this beautiful temple,” shared Sister Francis. “You never know who has a connection to Okinawa and will want to come and see. We even expect some former missionaries of Okinawa to come as well as people from mainland Japan.”

  • Join and follow the temple social media pages on Facebook and Instagram: Okinawa Japan Temple, where updates, photos, and news are shared. “We’re posting temple updates on social media every week, in an effort to raise interest in this beautiful ediface,” explained Claire Butler, communications subcommittee member.

  • Share your testimony of the temple. “We are collecting testimonies about the temple from members here to share with our friends as we prepare for the open house,” explained Lori Shirley, communications sub-committee member. “These testimonies will help build awareness of the temple. Submit to: 

  • Share your picture in front of the temple. An effort is underway to collect photos to make a beautiful collage of the temple. Asao Oshiro of the communications subcommittee explained, “We need 2,000 photos. We already have 520, so if many people will submit their photo as well that would be wonderful.” Send photo submissions to:

  • Think of friends or colleagues who might need a special invitation. “So many of the members of the Okinawa Military District are moving during the summer,” said President Mark Francis. “But they can still invite friends and colleagues before they leave who will be on island during the open house. Don’t limit your involvement because you might be moving away.”

“This is a worldwide church, and with wonderful communication tools we can make this event much bigger than the small Ryukyu Island chain where the temple is built,” concluded President Francis.

As Elder Takahashi Wada said in his prayer at the temple groundbreaking, “May the inspiring vista bless the entire community, including those not of our faith, and become a cherished landmark for all who live or visit here.”

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