500 people gather in front of Camp Schwab to support Okinawa Governor in court battle with Japan

500 people gather in front of Camp Schwab to support Okinawa Governor in court battle with Japan

Citizens staging a sit-in protest in front of Camp Schwab’s gate in Henoko, Nago on December 2.


December 2, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Japanese government has sued to override Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga’s revocation of a landfill permit to build a new U.S. base in Henoko. A court opening session of oral proceedings was held on December 2 at the Naha branch of Fukuoka High Court. During a rainy morning, about 500 citizens protesting against the new base construction staged a sit-in. The protesters voiced strong support for Governor Onaga.

The sit-in was part of the weekly “Wednesday Mass Protest Rally.” Usually, riot police remove the protesting citizens before 7 a.m to allow construction trucks to enter the base. However, the trucks entering the base and the mobilization of the police officers were not seen. The protesters danced the kachashi for joy.

Hiroji Yamashiro, the director of the Okinawa Peace Movement, who leads the protest rally, said, “Let’s confirm that we are winning the battle against the central government. We now realize that if a lot of people gather in front of the gate, we can stop the construction. We need to hold more huge protest rallies, in addition to Wednesdays.”

Eighty-six-year-old Fumiko Shimabukuro, a regular member of protest activities against the relocation facility, said, “It is not right that the Japanese government sued the prefectural government. Governor Onaga made the right decision. He can stand up to the Japanese government’s challenge because there is nothing to hide.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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