Yomitan requests Defense Bureau access to place of worship located on U.S. military base

Yomitan requests Defense Bureau access to place of worship located on U.S. military base

Yomitan Mayor Denjitsu Ishimine (third from right) reading the letter of request to Director-General Toshinori Tanaka (far left) at the Okinawa Defense Bureau in Kadena on December 1.

December 14, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo


On December 1, Shokichi Yokota, chair of the Yomitan Village Makibaru Community Association, Kantoku Teruya, member of the House of Representatives, and Yomitan Village Mayor Denjitsu Ishimine, visited the Okinawa Defense Bureau Director-General Toshinori Tanaka. The group requested that the fence in front of the Chichen Utaki, a place of worship located inside the U.S. Army’s Kadena Ammunition Depot, be moved back toward the base so that the former residents of Makibaru village can visit and worship freely. The former Makibaru village was seized by the U.S. after the war; Still, in the past, the gate provided locals free access to the Utaki, and people visited to pray and dance eisa for the annual lunar festival on September 9. However, the gate was closed after the September11 attacks in 2001.


Director-General Tanaka revealed that he has been coordinating with the U.S. military to move the fence since receiving Yokota’s request last October. Tanaka explained that “the U.S. military responded that [moving the fence] is very difficult at the moment from a security standpoint,” but indicated he would continue coordinations on the issue.


During the meeting, Yokota cited how locals used to be able to access the place of worship freely and said, “The association’s view is that we were dragged into the war because of national policy. As a result, our land and the right to pray were taken away. The government should take responsibility and negotiate the relocation of the fence.”


(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)


Go to Japanese


Previous Article:
Next Article:

[Similar Articles]