Icon of Henoko movement Muneyoshi Kayo passes away

Icon of Henoko movement Muneyoshi Kayo passes away

On December 21, at Henoko, Nago City, Muneyoshi Kayo objected to new base construction in Henoko

November 4, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

At 8:45 a.m. on November 3, Muneyoshi Kayo, who was a member of sit-in protest group “Inochi wo mamoru kai,” which protests the relocation of the Futenma Air Station to Henoko, Nago, passed away at a hospital in Ginoza Village at the age of 94 due to pneumonia. Kayo was from Henoko, Nago City. The memorial service has not yet been determined. The hearse left the house at 10:45 a.m. on November 5.

Since 1996 when the relocation plan of the Futenma Air Station to Henoko emerged, Kayo has expressed his opposition to military base construction at Henoko. Kayo, who was conscripted in the Pacific War, received physical punishment after standing up for his junior, who received unreasonable blame by a military superior. Having injured his leg at war and experienced the unreasonableness and cruelty of war, Kayo campaigned against war and for peace. His wife Yoshiko says “He had a strong sense of justice. He said war should not occur ever again. Right up until he passed away, he was worried about the base being built at Henoko. It might be his only regret.”

In 1998, Kayo set up a sub-group of elders “Dugong no kai” in “Inochi wo mamoru kai” and served as a leader. Despite his age and being in a wheelchair due to physical disability, Kayo visited the tent at Henoko beach many times. Mayor Susumu Inamine of Nago City said, “He was a symbol of the Henoko struggle. I will surely pass down his will.”

Hiroshi Ashitomi of the Helicopter Base Objection Association reflected, “He had a strong will not to let the base be built in Henoko. He was willing to fight until the end.”

Ikuo Nishikawa from Henoko, who has worked with Kayo in “Inochi wo mamoru kai” recalled, “I remember the time when we established the group 20 years ago. He worked so hard from the beginning until he passed. Thank you.”

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)

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