U.S. military again removes residents’ protest tents near Northern Training Area N1 zone gate

U.S. military again removes residents’ protest tents near Northern Training Area N1 zone gate

In Takae, Higashi Village, on July 3 there were notices (right) posted on the cars parked there, and warning letters concerning removal of the tents and other items.

July 4, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

Local residents who oppose Northern Training Area (NTA) helipads have set up tents, tent furnishings, simple toilets and other items as part of their opposition in front of the NTA’s N1 zone gate.

On July 2 the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa removed these tents and furnishings.

This is not the first time it has done so.

Cars parked there were posted with notices that the cars would be impounded within three days if not moved. Residents made plans to visit the Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) on July 5 to object to these actions by the Marine Corps.

The U.S. Marine Corps told the Ryukyu Shimpo that it had notified the tents’ owners of the date by which it would remove the tents, and had waited until that date to do so.

It claimed that because the tents were left there, it had removed them based on the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement.

Similarly, the ODB answered that the U.S. military gave notifcation about removal of these items.

Tents and other items were removed without notification in April, and this was the second such time since then.

At the end of April the U.S. Marine Corps posted notices on residents’ setups, and removed them at night on July 2 when the residents were absent. The residents became aware their setups had been removed at about 8:30 a.m. on July 3.

Noboru Gibo, 64, was the first person to confirm the tents had been removed.

He said: “[The military] was unable to remove [things] during the day and did it at night because the U.S. military, too, seems to know this is not behavior that can be exhibited publicly.

We must not give up; we will continue to protest.”

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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