Citizen group launches new protest ship in Henoko

Citizen group launches new protest ship in Henoko

In front of protest ship Fukutsu (Invictus), Captain and pastor Hajime Kanai (right) expressed gratitude to fundraisers at Teima fishing port in Henoko on November 14.


November 15, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On November 14, at Teima fishing port, Nago, a citizen group held a launching ceremony for a new ship, which they will use to protest against a landfill project being carried out to build a replacement facility for the U.S. Futenma base. The ship has capacity for ten people and is named Fukutsu (Invictus), in honour of a popular resistance activist and politician.

The Peace Research Institute of Okinawa has called for a nationwide fundraising campaign in order to buy a protest ship. Enough funds to buy the ship could be raised in about a month, it says. The ship’s name Fukutsu is a word that Kamejiro Senaga (June 10, 1907 – October 5, 2001) used in his calligraphic writing. The word is painted on the body of the ship, in the style of Senaga’s handwriting. Senaga was a Naha Mayor and a prominent political figure when Okinawa was under US governance. He was imprisoned by American military authorities. Later, he served as a member of the Japanese Diet, in the House of Representatives, before retiring from politics.

Captain Hajime Kanai, a pastor and a coordinator of the Peace Research Institute, said, “By inheriting Mr. Senaga’s spirit, we will resist bowing before any oppression. We will struggle against the government using this ship.”

Hiroshi Ashitomi, co-representative of the Helicopter Base Objection Association, said, “I would like this ship to be a pillar of struggle in Henoko.”

On the same day, about 60 people held a sit-in protest in front of Camp Schwab in Henoko. Gavan McCormack, an Emeritus Professor of the Australian National University, spoke to the people, “I would like to write about the meaning of this struggle. Now you are creating a new history. We will show our solidarity with you from abroad.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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