3,500 people call for peace in 5-15 rally despite heavy rain

3,500 people call for peace in 5-15 rally despite heavy rain

On May 19, at the 5-15 rally held at Ginowan Seaside Park, about 3,500 people called for opposition to the plan to construct a new base in Henoko and protested against amending the constitution.

May 20, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

On May 19, at the Ginowan Seaside Park, the Okinawa Peace Movement Center and the 5-15 Peace March Executive Committee held a citizens’ rally to call for the protection of life and peace. This was held in the year that Okinawa marked the 41st anniversary of its reversion to Japanese sovereignty on May 15, 1972.

According to the organizers, about 3,500 people from all over the country participated in the rally. They adopted a declaration opposing the additional deployment of MV-22 Osprey aircraft to Okinawa and the plan to build an alternative base for U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Henoko in Nago. In the declaration, they protested against Osaka Mayor Hashimoto’s remarks that comfort women were “necessary” and that the U.S. military should use the local adult-entertainment business. They also opposed the Liberal Democratic Party administration’s moves to amend the Constitution and called for a nuclear-power free society.

The peace march started in Miyako on May 11 and in Yaeyama on May 15. On the main island of Okinawa, participants started three different courses on May 17, with about 1,300 people taking part on the final day, May 19. Chairman of the Executive Committee Shiko Sakiyama told the participants, “In Okinawa, our lives are constantly affected by noise from military aircraft. We wonder if Japan is really a sovereign state? We will continue to state our feelings about peace.”

Kim Bok-dong, 87, who was forced by the Imperial Japanese Army to serve as a comfort woman said,” During wartime, everyone always end up becoming a victim one way or another. Let’s join forces to create a world without war.” She has called for the Japanese government to apologize and provide compensation.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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