Sit-in protest on Henoko beach marks 4000 days

Sit-in protest on Henoko beach marks 4000 days

Ashitomi (right) and another protester at the sit-in to prevent the construction of a new U.S. military base in Henoko, Nago on April 1.

April 2, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

On April 1, citizens of a sit-in protest on Henoko beach marked 4,000 days since the sit-in began in 2004. It will mark the 11th anniversary on April 19. The protest began in response to a Japanese government marine boring survey, in preparation for the construction of a new U.S. air base. The protesting citizens brought the survey to a halt in 2005. The sit-in also began in front of the gate of U.S. Marine Camp Schwab from July 7, 2014. However, the central government restarted the boring survey last August. On average, about 70 to 100 people a day have visited the sit-in tent on the Henoko beach.

Hiroshi Ashitomi of the Helicopter Base Objection Association said, “We will never see the sit-in protest here reach 5,000 days.” Hatsuko Kinjo, a wife of the late Yuji Kinjo who was a representative of the “Save Life Association,” and a key player in local protests against the Henoko relocation, said, “My husband is supporting us from the other side. We want to resolve this issue.”

Another protester who has also passed away is Teruo Onishi of the Helicopter Base Objection Association. Hatsuko Kinjo said, “The local citizens mobilized themselves to set up this association, which has carried us to this point. I am proud of my husband.” Ashitomi added, “We have now reached a critical stage. By appealing to the international community, we will stop this unreasonable project.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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