Citizens call for removal of Futenma base 20 years after Japan and US agreed to close it
April 11, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
On April 10, at a park in Oyama, Ginowan, near Futenma U.S. Marine Corps Air Station, citizen groups rallied for the removal of the base fence and the return of military land. Two decades have passed since the governments of Japan and the United States agreed to return the base in 1996.
About 200 residents called for removal of the Futenma airfield, holding placards bearing messages such as “Remove fence” and “Take back Futenma.”
Ginowan residents, students and citizens protesting against the new base construction at Henoko, Nago, made speeches.
A resolution was proposed and participants approved it with their applause.
The resolution reads, “We, Okinawans, will determine our future. The wheels have began to move towards realizing an Okinawa that can become rich and people can feel proud of,” “We cannot allow the U.S. base to be left to our children and grandchildren. Together we should hit back against the Japanese and United States governments pushing their discriminatory policies on us.”
The rally was organized by the Ginowan branch of the Shimagurumi-kaigi and other citizen groups. The organizer sent a letter requesting Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima’s attendance at the rally, but he did not appear. Sakima was reelected in January this year by pledging to prevent the Futenma base from remaining in its current location permanently.
(English translation by T&CT)
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