Citizens’ rally draws 2000 participants who protest against Henoko base construction

Citizens’ rally draws 2000 participants who protest against Henoko base construction

At around 12:59 in front of Camp Schwab's gate in Henoko, Nago City, rally participants shout "Ganbaro!" (Let's do our best!) three times with fervor to declare their opposition to construction of the base. (Photograph courtesy of Yasuhide Matayoshi)


 

July 8, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo

 

On July 7, the All-Okinawa Coalition Against Construction of the New Base in Henoko held a citizens’ rally calling for protection of the dugong and coral.

As for the Henoko base that is being constructed as a replacement facility for Futenma Air Station, the protestors called for soil deposits to not be permitted and for Henoko base construction to be abandoned.

The Okinawa Defense Bureau has announced that soil deposits into the ocean will begin on August 17.

Participants protested with statements like, “Stop construction of a base that ignores popular will.” According to the organizers, 2000 people gathered for the rally.

 

Governor Takeshi Onaga said, “I certainly cannot approve of [the Japanese government’s] lack of consideration for the natural environment and how it has ignored popular sentiment.”

Speaking about the possibility of revoking his predecessor’s land reclamation permit, Onaga said, “I am thoroughly considering [this situation] from a legal perspective. If it comes to a point where I cannot overlook environmental protection measures or such things, I will absolutely decide to revoke it without hesitation.”

Rally participants adopted an appeal that requested the following: (1) Do not destroy the seaweed beds where scarce coral, dugong, and sea turtles live. (2) In communities in the vicinity [of the new base] U.S. safety regulations are being overstepped. Do not make light of the lives and property of residents and school children. (3) There may be an active fault near Oura Bay, the seafloor there is very soft ground. Review the suitability of the site for the new base and completely retract the plan.

The All-Okinawa Coalition plans to hold a prefectural citizens’ rally toward blocking soil deposits on August 11 on Onoyama Park’s athletic field.

More than 30,000 are planning to attend the rally.

 

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