People determined to protest against construction of a new base in Henoko
August 14, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo
The U.S. and Japanese government were about to set up a number of sea buoys and floats marking out an area for building a new U.S.military base around the investigation spots in Henokozaki. The new base is part of a replacement of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. At the former gate of Camp Schwab on August 13, More than 100 people of all ages from in and outside Okinawa have become determined to protest against what the governments plan to do. One of them said, “We cannot allow them to set up buoys off the Henoko district.” Another claimed, “Okinawan people should gather to prevent the government from sealing the area for the land reclamation work.”
While construction vehicles came and went, the citizens continued to voice protest against the plan. After 4:10 p.m., Hiroji Yamashiro, the director of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center, asked the shouting protesters to huddle together. All of them sang a song titled Give Us Back Okinawa.
Yamashiro shouted at the top of his voice, “We will reach a critical point tomorrow. Be determined to voice protest against the reckless construction from the gate.” The citizens expressed their agreement and applauded.
Some of the protesters sang ryukyuan traditional songs such as Hutami Joowa or Asadoya Yunta. Masako Toguchi said, “Singing songs makes us feel united and makes the atmosphere positive. That’s how the participants interact with one another.” A poet and picture book writer Arthur Bernard from Hiroshima Prefecture said that if the new base is built, there would be more to come. He went on to say that Okinawan people have no other choices but to keep protesting.
(English translation by T&CT)
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