Takae residents protest against Japanese government agreeing to provide land for US helipads before returning region’s land occupied by US military

Takae residents protest against Japanese government agreeing to provide land for US helipads before returning region's land occupied by US military

At the Okinawa Defense Bureau's office on February 16, members of the Association of Residents Against the Helipad demanded the bureau not allow U.S military to use touchdown areas in the Takae district of Higashi.


February 16, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

The U.S. military plans to build military helipads as a condition of the partial return of its Northern Training Area. The governments of Japan and the United States agreed to provide two touchdown areas in N4 area, which is the closest to Takae Village, before returning the land occupied by the U.S military to landowners. On February 16, members of the Association of Residents Against the Helipad visited the Okinawa Defense Bureau. They have asked the bureau not to let the military use N4 touchdown area.

Kazunori Inoue, the head of the Okinawa Defense Bureau, said, “We do not decide when we provide the land to the U.S military.” Inoue continued, “N4 touchdown area is not newly built. We partially reformed the existing touchdown area LZ17. After the reform, we have provided the land to the military.”

Local citizens said, “It is not a reform. It is a new construction. What the bureau did is not part of from the agreement reached between Japan and the United States. It is irresponsible.”

Inoue said that the Higashi Village Mayor and the Takae District Mayor requested the bureau not allow construction vehicles to pass through Takae. He explained, “We have permission from the Takae District Mayor.” The residents asserted, “Takae district twice made resolutions to protest against the new helipad construction.”

Before the meeting with the bureau, the residents held a protest rally in front of the bureau’s office building. About 80 people, including about 50 members from the Island-Wide Council raised their voices in protest against the new agreement.

(English translation by T&CT)

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