Model designed for the redevelopment of land occupied by Futenma Air Station
May 22, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo
A large-scale model made in 1995 by students of Futenma High School to reflect what the redevelopment of land currently used by the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma might look like, has been on displayed in the library of Motobu High School since May 10.
The students of Motobu High School partially restored the model. The school’s principal, Yoshinori Higa, who came up with idea of the model during his time teaching at Futenma High School, had been storing it. Higa said, “I would like students in the northern area of Okinawa to take this opportunity to think about the current state of affairs in Okinawa.”
The model is 1.5 meters wide, and three meters long. Higa came up with idea of creating the model as an exhibition for the school festival, and the students worked on the project.
The model represents the dreams of students of Futenma High School for the redevelopment of land currently used by Futenma Air Station. It includes a monorail, an outdoor amphitheater and a residential area.
Higa reflects on that time, saying, “High school students in the central area of Okinawa were used to the existence of the base because it had been there from before they were born, but when they learned about Okinawa they became aware of the dangers involved with a base being located in such a densely populated area.”
Rena Harakuni, a student of Motobu High School who helped restore the model for display, said, “I was not particularly interested in the issue of Futenma and Henoko. But after I watched a TV program about the 40th anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to Japanese sovereignty, I thought that I must come to terms with the fact that U.S. military bases are still in Okinawa.” With regard to the dreams represented by the model created by students of Futenma High School 17 years ago, Harakuni said, “It would be great if these dreams come true.”
The Sakima Art Museum temporarily exhibited the model but Higa later repossessed it. He has been displaying it at the schools to which he has been transferred. The model will be displayed until June 23, the anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa.
(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey）
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