Executive committee established to organize protest rally against Osprey deployment

July 19, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

On July 18, in the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly building, an executive committee was established to organize a protest rally against the deployment of the MV-22 Osprey vertical take-off and landing transport aircraft to MCAS Futenma. The committee plans to hold the rally at the Ginowan Seaside Park Multi Purpose Square at 3:00pm on August 5, and hopes to attract more than 50000 participants. On August 7 and 8, the committee will ask the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Defense Minister, and the U.S. forces in Japan to cancel the deployment of the Osprey and hand over the resolution adopted at the rally to each of the ministers and will consider making a request to the U.S. government.
The committee currently consists of 29 organizations in Okinawa. Economic organizations in the prefecture are considering taking part.

Masaharu Kina, the chairman of the Prefectural Assembly, Takeshi Onaga, the head of the Mayor’s Association, and Kiku Taira, the head of the Prefectural Women’s Federation, Nobumasa Nakamura, the head of the Okinawa Branch of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, all became co-representatives. The committee will request that about 1700 organizations participate in the rally as co-hosts.

During the rally, co-representatives will deliver speeches, the mayor of Ginowan, which hosts Futenma Air Station, and heads of the various municipalities where the Osprey squadrons will carry out training, will all give their opinions. After that, the resolution of the rally will be adopted. The committee is asking Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima to deliver a speech instead of requesting that he become a co-representative. In the afternoon on July 18, at the Okinawa Prefectural Office, a representative of the committee visited Vice-governor Kanetoshi Yoseda to request the governor’s participation in the rally.

Masaharu Kina, the chairman of the Prefectural Assembly, said, “We will use this rally as an opportunity to take a stand towards the Japanese and the U.S. governments in the hope that we can prevent the deployment of the Osprey. I want the people of Okinawa to use this rally to focus their indignation and create the momentum we need to accomplish our goal.”

A press conference was held after the committee was officially established. In regard to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda having stated that the Japanese government could not refuse the Osprey deployment plan put forward by the U.S. government, Onaga said, “Noda’s remark reflects the fact that the Japanese government cannot refuse U.S. government requests.” He went on to say, “On this issue, we will do our best to question the actions Japan takes as an independent nation.”

On July 26, the committee will meet again to propose a resolution for the rally. From now, the committee will distribute posters and flyers advertising the rally, and put out full-page ads in two major newspapers in Okinawa.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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