Nago protest gathering of 3000 demands Osprey removal from Okinawa

Nago protest gathering of 3000 demands Osprey removal from Okinawa

At the 21st Century Forest Park Gymnasium on December 15 at 7:58 a.m. participants joined together yelling, “Let’s do our best!” (Photograph by Futoshi Hanashiro)


December 16, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo


On December 15 at the 21st Century Forest Park Gymnasium in Nago City, in observance of the crash of an MV-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing aircraft from Futenma Air Station on December 13 last year in Abu, Nago, the All-Okinawa Kaigi (All-Okinawa Coalition) held a gathering to protest these defective aircraft. According to the organizers, people in attendance came from within Okinawa, throughout Japan and abroad, numbering about 3000 in all. Due to repeated U.S. military aircraft accidents following the one in Abu, the Coalition has called for removal of the Osprey, closure of Futenma Air Station, and a halt to flights of all aircraft based at Futenma.


The Coalition harshly criticizes that the continued occurrences of U.S. military aircraft accidents threaten the lives of Okinawan people.

These accidents include the window of a CH-53E helicopter falling onto the grounds of Futenma Daini Elementary and Middle School in Ginowan City, another aircraft part falling onto the roof of a nursery school in Ginowan, and another CH-53E helicopter bursting into flames and making an emergency landing in Takae, Futenma.


A citizen among the participants said, “Without an investigation into the cause [of the accident] the government confirmed resumption of flights; another accident will occur. Each time an accident occurs [the government] repeats its promises of burden reduction and preventative measures, but nothing changes and [Okinawans feel] only resentment.”

Others also spoke angrily of the Japanese government’s compliance with the U.S. military.


Gathering participants made a resolution asking for (1) the prompt removal of the Osprey and a halt to flights of all aircraft based at Futenma Air Station, (2) the withdrawal of the U.S. Marine Corps from Okinawa, the substantial consolidation and reduction of U.S. military bases, and the abandonment of a new base in Henoko or relocation of Futenma Air Station within Okinawa but also the closure and removal of Futenma, (3) and a drastic revision of the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement.

The citizens affirmed their solidarity by joining hands and yelling, “Let’s do our best!” together three times.


Mayor of Nago City Susumu Inamine said, “The Osprey is a defective aircraft that has caused seven accidents in the eight months since the crash in Abu. It is inconceivable that no more will occur from here on out.”

He also spoke out in opposition of the new base in Henoko: “Close Futenma and relocate it outside of Okinawa or outside of Japan. Do not build it in Henoko.”


Deputy Governor of Okinawa Moritake Tomikawa stood in for Governor Takeshi Onaga at the gathering since the governor was on official business in Tokyo.

Tomikawa delivered the message: “As accidents occur over and over, Okinawans’ anger is reaching its limit.

The Japanese government has completely ignored the Okinawan government’s administrative guidance and forced through construction [of the Henoko base].

Although the Japanese government is desperate to show off that construction is progressing favorably, it has not gotten to the point where they can no longer backtrack.

We will strive with dedicated determination to realize our official pledge of exhausting all methods to prevent the new base.”


Representative Tetsumi Takara of the All-Okinawa Coalition said, “Is this really Okinawa 45 years after its return? Let us claim Okinawa’s right to live in peace.”

Representatives of the Island-Wide Council from all over Okinawa and National Diet members also took the podium at the gathering.


(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)


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