Ministry of Defense builds fences at Futenma

Ministry of Defense builds fences at Futenma

Police officers held back citizens protesting against the erection of fences at Nodake Gate of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan. At around 11:48 p.m. on July 22.

July 23, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

In a meeting of the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee on July 22, the Japanese and U.S. governments approved setting up fences at Gate 3 of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Nodake, Ginowan. To oppose the deployment last September of the first squadron of Osprey to Okinawa citizens staged a sit-in protest at the gate, preventing access from the base to and from Ginowan City. The U.S. responded by asking the Japanese government to build fences around the gate and the Ministry of Defense began work on this at around 8:00 p.m. on 22 July. Citizens who were protesting scuffled with the workers, creating a tense atmosphere. Groups opposing the deployment of the aircraft are also critical of the construction. The ministry will erect about 20 meters of fencing along the pavement beside Route 330 which is next to the gate, thereby reducing the space available between existing fences and the road.

Where the fences are to be erected (red).

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

The Japanese government will pay about two million yen to cover the cost of construction, facility management and surveying. The ministry states that the Japanese government is obliged to do this because it provides the land for the bases. A sole-source contractor will take one week to erect the fences.

The ministry stated, “The U.S. government has asked the Japanese government to erect fences to ensure access because of problems entering and leaving through the gate.” They went on to say, “The Japanese government has examined the issue and agreed with the U.S. assessment.” The central government has started construction because citizens’ movements concern them and they are trying to avoid s additional Osprey coming to Okinawa in early August having an influence on the House of Councilors elections.

Susumu Matayoshi, the head of the Executive Office of the Governor, said, “We would like to confirm what exactly occurred including any trouble.”

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