18,000 opposing Henoko base and conspiracy bill encircle Diet Building

18,000 opposing Henoko base and conspiracy bill encircle Diet Building

On the afternoon of June 10 in front of the National Diet Building, protestors call out “we oppose the new base in Henoko” and “scrap the conspiracy crimes bill.”

June 11, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

The group Stop! Henoko Umetate (also known as Stop! Henoko Land Reclamation) held a National Diet Building encirclement protest on the afternoon of June 10, requesting that the Japanese government abandon new base construction in Henoko, Nago, and scrap the bill to incorporate “conspiracy crimes” in the Act on Punishment of Organized Crimes. This is the fifth Diet encirclement action since February last year opposing Henoko base construction.

Organizers of this Diet encirclement were Stop! Henoko Umetate’s Diet Encirclement Action Committee, the United Action Committee for Don’t Allow War (Senso Sasenai) and Don’t Destroy Article 9 (Kyujyo Kowasuna), and the Okinawa Council Opposing Base Relocation Within Okinawa. The Conspiracy Crimes NO! Action Committee also supported the organizers.

According to the organizers 18,000 people surrounded the Diet, zealously calling out things such as “Don’t build a base in Henoko” and “We won’t give up until construction is abandoned.” Not only was a gathering was held in Henoko in solidarity with the one in Tokyo, there were concurrent gatherings in other prefectures including Aichi, Akita, Toyama, and Ishikawa to oppose Henoko base construction.

Encirclement protestors also called for the conspiracy crimes bill to be scrapped. They criticized the arrests of protestors opposing helipad construction in the Northern Training Area, saying these arrests were made as though the conspiracy crimes bill was already in effect.

Mayor of Nago City and co-representative of the All-Okinawa Kaigi Susumu Inamine took the podium and said: “By means of police at the site for new base construction, disorderly situations are occurring in which non-violent citizens become injured. However, we will not give up [until construction is abandoned].”

On this day many people took the podium and declared that they will fight to the end to stop construction in Henoko. These included co-representative of the Helicopter Base Objection Association Hiroshi Ashitomi, Director Kaoru Yamaguchi of Amnesty International’s Japan Campaigns Unit, opposition party Diet members, experts, and citizen representatives who oppose Henoko base construction.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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