4,500 protesters gather in Tokyo to block construction of new US base at Henoko
November 30, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
On the afternoon of November 29, about 4,500 people gathered in the Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, demanding that the government of Japan cancel construction of a new U.S. base at Henoko, Nago. The rally was held by civic groups and Okinawan people living in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
This was the largest gathering in Tokyo against the new U.S. base since Governor Takeshi Onaga revoked a landfill approval. Protesters raised their voices against the government of Japan, which has overridden the governor’s revocation and resumed construction work.
The organizers also held protests around the National Diet building in January, May and September to urge the government to cancel the construction of the new base.
The November 29 rally in Tokyo aimed to spread the message of “No Henoko” to people throughout Japan before a court opening session of oral proceedings on December 2 at the Naha branch of Fukuoka High Court.
Hiroshi Ashitomi, co-representative of the Helicopter Base Objection Association, said, “The non-violent movement prevails among Okinawans.” He further hoped that the non-violent movement would be spread all over the country.
Suzuyo Takazato, co-representative of the All-Okinawa Council or Shimagurumi-kaigi, explained that the council’s delegation had visited the United States from November 15 to 21 to resolve the Henoko issue.
Norio Oshiro, co-representative of the council and president of the Rengo Okinawa, stressed the necessity of establishing support organizations for the Henoko struggle, saying, “The Abe administration is trampling on democracy, local autonomy and human rights.”
Nahomi Edamoto, cooking specialist, and Hiroshi Tanaka, co-chair of the Association for Inheriting and Propagating the Murayama Statement and professor emeritus of Hitotsubashi University, criticized the national government for pushing the construction of the base.
Members of Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs) and citizen groups to protect the war-renouncing constitution called for abolition of the security bills and working together to block the construction of the new base.
Protesters marched along Ginza Street calling out against construction of the new base after the rally ended.
(English translation by T&CT)
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