Employees of Kanehide Holdings take part in sit-in at Camp Schwab gate
April 9, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
About 130 people from the Okinawa company Kanehide Holdings, including the chairman Morimasa Goya, have taken part in a protest against ongoing construction work at Camp Schwab in Henoko. Company executives along with new employees joined demonstrators outside the camp’s main gate on the morning of April 9. The Okinawa Defense Bureau is continuing preliminary work at Henoko as part of its plan to build a replacement facility for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
Representing the new employees, Masato Uechi delivered a speech. He said, “Although I knew about the Henoko protest from TV and newspaper coverage, it is really impressive to see it firsthand.” He continued, “This has become a big movement because lots of individuals are working together. The sky is the limit. I hope more young people will take part and change the situation.”
After 6 a.m., the protesters began preventing vehicles from entering the base. They also criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for supporting the Henoko relocation plan.
Workers employed by the Defence Bureau used two marine construction barges and a crane barge off the coast of Henoko. While on the land around the Henokozaki cape where the bureau plans to build a temporary pier, construction workers operated heavy machinery. Protesters in four boats and 13 canoes claimed to have halted the work temporarily. They were later forcibly removed from the scene by Japan Coast Guard officers in inflatable rafts. The situation remained tense.
(English translation by T&CT)
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