2,000 protesters surround Government Office to demand Okinawa Governor’s resignation

2,000 protesters surround Government Office to demand Okinawa Governor’s resignation

Protesters carry placards seeking the resignation of the governor in the public square in front of the Okinawa Prefectural Government Office in the afternoon of February 14.

February 14, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

Last December Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima approved the landfill application for the replacement of the U.S. Futenma Air Station to Henoko, Nago. On February 14, a citizens group and four opposition parties of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly held a rally to demand that the governor resign and withdraw his approval. About 2,000 protesters surrounded the Okinawa Prefectural Government building. The participants voiced their anger at the governor. One protester said, “Pledge-breaker governor should resign,” and another protester said, “No military bases is the will of the people.” They carried placards demanding his resignation and the withdrawal of his approval of the landfill. Opposition parties raised an urgent motion demanding the setting up of an investigative commission at the prefectural assembly to look into the governor’s decision in terms of Article 100 of the Local Autonomy Act. The regular meeting of the assembly opened on this day, but it stopped and started often because of the urgent motion.

In December last year, protest rallies around the government building were held twice to demand that the governor withdraw approval of the landfill. This is first time such a rally has occurred since on January 10 when the assembly adopted the resolution to demand the governor’s resignation. Participants gathered one after another in the square before noon. Students passing by, office workers during their lunch break and women who had rushed from all over Okinawa also joined the rally. They surrounded the government building for about half an hour.

Nana Yoshikawa, from Naha City, said, “Someone who ignores the voice of the citizens cannot be our leader. The central government is trying to force the landfill on the residents who do not wish to build a new base in Henoko. Does the government need so many military bases on Okinawa?”

Shigeo Nita, 79, from Itoman City, said, “The governor should resign from his job,” and added, “We must resist the arrogance of the governor. I want young people to visit Henoko.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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