3,900 people including vice governor rally against construction of new US base in Henoko
March 22, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
On March 21, at Sedake beach and on the water, civic organizations and the five ruling parties of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly held a people’s rally to block the construction of a new U.S. base in Henoko, Nago. About 3,900 people gathered, and Vice Governor Misuo Agena took part in the rally for the first time after anti-new U.S. base construction Governor Takeshi Onaga’s administration started. The vice governor stated in his speech, “Governor Onaga will make his decision soon.” He suggested that the Okinawa Prefectural Government would revoke the permission granted to the Okinawa Defense Bureau to crush reef.
Speakers at the rally demanded the governments of Japan and the United States cancel the construction of a new U.S. base in Henoko.
They also criticized the U.S. military for a recent increase in incidents involving parts falling from U.S. military aircraft .
House of Representatives member Kantoku Teruya stated, “The construction of new U.S. base will damage Our Mother the Sea, and destroy the dignity of Uchinanchu (Okinawan people).”
Fujiko Matsuda, president of the Association of Residents of the Districts North of Futami Opposed to the Construction of a New Base at Henoko, Oura Bay, said, “The sea of Oura Bay has become a battlefield for the fight between state power and the people’s will. I want to ask everyone if Japan should keep going this way.”
Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine said, “The victory is easy to reach. We should demonstrate our belief with pride and confidence. Let’s join forces to cancel the Henoko relocation plan.”
This is the fourth time that a mass rally with thousands protesters has been held near the construction site. It is the first rally since the government resumed a seabed drilling survey on March 12. The executive committee consisting of civic organizations and the five ruling parties will hold a rally of tens of thousands at Okinawa Cellular Stadium in Naha on May 17. It will also hold a people’s rally in front of Camp Schwab or Sedake beach. In April, bipartisan assembly members of all the cities, towns, villages and the prefecture will take part in action to block the gate of Camp Schwab.
(English translation by T&CT)
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