“The future is ours,” leader Yamashiro detained for protest against new US base calls for unity

Director of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center Hiroji Yamashiro

December 24, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

Hiroji Yamashiro, the director of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center, who was arrested on October 17, has been prosecuted and is now being detained for his involvement in protests against new U.S. base construction in Henoko, Nago and Helipad construction in the U.S. marines’ Northern Training Area (NTA) in Takae, Higashi. He responded to interview requests made by the Ryukyu Shimpo through a lawyer who has been representing him.

On December 24, the Ryukyu Shimpo sent him questions, and received his response in writing on the same day.
Yamashiro emphasized the importance of continuing the movement and not giving in to the central government’s hardline stance on building the new base and the helipads. “Now is the time to support Governor Onaga. Let’s join our hands to work for the future of Okinawa. The future is ours,” he states in his response.

“I feel unexplained anger,” He says. He denounced the Osprey crash and called for the unity of Okinawan people, “Let’s unite and exercise the power of the prefecture’s people to stop this reckless chain of fear.”
Touching on a ceremony held on December 22 for the return of part of the northern training area, Yamashiro expressed his feelings, “I was so moved emotionally that tears were coming out of my eyes when I heard that Governor Onaga had publicly taken part in the citizens’ protest gathering with a resolute attitude, refusing to attend the ceremony. I remember the strength that I felt.”

He stated, regarding the arrest of many protesting citizens including himself, “I cannot help but say that it is unforgivable repression.”

He wrote about the future, “I am waiting for the day I will proudly raise my voice in protest together with colleagues. I will do my best here.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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