Miyakojima residents protest construction of GDSF ammunition depot

Miyakojima residents protest construction of GDSF ammunition depot

In the morning on October 7 in Gusukube, Miyakojima City, Miyakojima Police Station officers scuffle with citizens on the entrance path for the trucks hauling materials.

October 8, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

On the morning of October 7 the Ministry of Defense started construction on a Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) ammunition depot at Bora mine in Gusukube, Miyakojima City, Okinawa.

There was no time between the explanatory meeting and the construction starting.

Early in the morning 10 citizens rushed to protest near the entrance to the construction site, raising their fists and making declarations such as “We will not allow illegal construction,” and “Don’t build a dangerous ammunition depot.”

The citizens engaged in protest activities near the entrance to the construction site starting at 8:00 a.m., and repeatedly called out to the Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) personnel to stop construction.

Two vehicles arrived hauling materials to the site, but the citizens blocked their entry and the vehicles were brought to a standstill near the entrance for a long time.

After the deadlock went on for a few hours, at 2:46 p.m. police officers from the Miyakojima Police Station moved the citizens and the two vehicles entered the construction site. No one was injured.

A representative of the citizens group against a missile/ammunition depot that protested at the construction site, Seiei Sunakawa, said with a gloomy countenance: “[This is] the kind of place where local residents even work in the fields, why build a dangerous ammunition depot?”

Sunakawa criticized the explanatory meeting leaving no time before construction commenced, saying, “We cannot allow it,” and “Residents have the right to live and make their livelihoods here.

The State makes light of that.”

A woman in her 70s who was walking in the village nearby hung her shoulders and said, “If I had to say, of course it would be better for there not to be an [ammunition depot] … but there are only elderly people here, and at this point we don’t know if there is anything we can do.”

A man in his 70s who was doing farmwork sighed and said, “It has already been decided. I don’t have anything to say.”

Representative Seihan Nakazato of a Miyakojima citizens’ liaison council against missile bases, who protested the construction starting in the early morning, said, “We absolutely cannot accept constrution of a facility linked to war.”

He touched on the topic of the garrison completed in March in Nobaru Ueno, Miyakojima City, and expressed his anger, saying, “The Ministry of Defense is not listening to citizens’ voices.

It appears to make light of the rights of local citizens and Miyakojima City residents.”

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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