Family of victims of “collective self-determination” pray for peace in Chibichiri-gama cave in Yomitan

Family of victims of “collective self-determination

Tokuich Yonaha (left of front row) and the family of victims of "group self-determination” joined their hands in Chibichiri-gama cave in Hanza, Yomitan on April 1.

April 2, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

On April 1, in the dark of Chibichiri-gama cave at Hanza, Yomitan, where more than 80 villagers were driven to “mass suicide” (compulsory group suicide) on April 2, 1945, a memorial service was held by the Bereaved Family Association.

More than 30 bereaved family members and other mourners put their hands together to pray for the souls of the people who died 72 years ago in the cave. They also pledged for no more wars.

Norio Yonaha, president of the association said, “We have seen many victims already, and yet, we saw another person who was victimized. Last year, there were incidents, including the case of a civilian employee of the U.S. military who raped and murdered a young Okinawan woman. As a parent with children, I feel strong anger. The Okinawan people’s dignity and human rights have not been protected.”

“We have to fully understand the situation we are in to never repeat a tragedy like this,” he said, renewing his determination to create peace.

Tokuichi Yonaha, 74, joined his hands together and held them towards an alter while praying: “I wish for peace from Chibi chiri-gama, Yuntanza, Uchina, to the world.”

Sculptor Minoru Kinjo, 78, criticized the Japanese government’s attitude, saying, “Japan is taking the first step to war with Henoko, Takae, and Miyako Island, where the controversial issue over the deployment of the Japanese Self-Defense Force took place. We can see clearly the path from Chibichiri-gama.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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