Heads of Okinawan municipalities to meet Prime Minister to protest against the deployment of the Osprey

November 6, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

On November 5, the executive committee of the protest rally against the Osprey deployment met to decide the schedule for the heads of the 41 municipalities in Okinawa to visit Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in order to protest in person against the deployment of the MV-22 Osprey aircraft to the prefecture. They hope to meet Noda on December 17. From 3:00pm on December 16, the committee will hold the Tokyo rally at the Hibiya Open Air Concert Hall, then from 4:00pm, they will hold a protest march around Ginza.

The Mayors Association, Town and Village Association and Association of Heads of the Municipal Assembly, Association of Heads of Town and Village and Okinawa Prefectural Assembly will put together a group to meet Noda. Forty eight of the members of the Prefectural Assembly plan to be in the group and as many as 150 people could possibly participate. The committee currently expects about 130 people to join the group. If Prime Minister Noda refuses to allow all of the participants to attend, those who are rejected will hold a sit-in protest in front of the Prime Minister’s Official Residence. The committee will hold press conferences for Japanese and foreign reporters. It also calls for members of the Okinawa Associations of Tokyo, Saitama and Chiba, Kanagawa, to come to participate in the Tokyo rally and the protest march, aiming to attract 5000 participants.

At this stage, the committee is unable to confirm whether or not the Prime Minister will agree to meet them, so it is possible that the schedule could change. The committee will report on developments regarding the schedule at its meeting due to be held on November 13.

At a meeting on November 5, the committee explained how the municipalities will hold rallies, some co-hosted, to protest against the deployment of the Osprey. Twenty municipalities have already held 17 rallies. Two cities and two towns including Uruma and Kin will hold protest rallies before the end of this month.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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