Constitution Rally speaker Hiroji Yamashiro says do not lose heart over Henoko embankment work

Constitution Rally speaker Hiroji Yamashiro says do not lose heart over Henoko embankment work

On the afternoon of May 3 in Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park, Chairman Hiroji Yamashiro of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center voices his enthusiasm in working to prevent construction of the new base In Henoko.


May 3, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo online edition

To mark 70 years since the constitution came into effect, the May 3 Constitution Rally met in Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park in Koto Ward, Tokyo. According to the organizers 55,000 people attended, pledging to protect the constitution, to support cancellation of new base construction, and to oppose “conspiracy crimes” being incorporated in the Act on Punishment of Organized Crimes. Chairman of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center Hiroji Yamashiro, who had previously been arrested and detained on suspicion of several offenses including inflicting bodily injury during protest activities, attended the rally and called for solidarity.

Yamashiro says that the Japanese government starting embankment work in Henoko, Nago, is no reason to lose heart, and that the central government cannot conduct land reclamation work. He insists that candidates supported by the Japanese government must win the Nago mayoral and Okinawa gubernatorial elections next year for the base to actually get built.

In regards to a bill to revise the Act on Punishment of Organized Crimes and incorporate “conspiracy crimes” that is currently being deliberated in the National Diet, Yamashiro speculates that the revision may be an effort by the Japanese government to block the opposition movements of Okinawans and their allies nationwide. He encourages people to work together to bury this effort by the central government.

Leaders of Japan’s Democratic Party, Communist Party, Liberal Party, and Social Democratic Party also participated in the rally. They announced that their appeal, titled “Nationwide United Signatures Calling for Respect for the Okinawan People’s Will and Retraction of Forcing Bases on Okinawa,” which requests the cancellation of new base construction in Henoko, has now collected 1,400,000 signatures nationwide including those already submitted to the National Diet.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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