Miyakojima residents voice sense of danger, call for the removal of missiles claiming they are an “obstacle to peace”

Miyakojima residents voice sense of danger, call for the removal of missiles claiming they are an “obstacle to peace”

Police officers removing protestors from the entrance to the Bora Training Grounds – November 14, Bora Gusukube, Miyako

November 15, 2021 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) transported surface-to-air and surface-to-ship missiles November 14 from the Miyakojima Garrison over the water to the Bora Training Grounds. Under occasional heavy rain, Miyakojima residents rushed to Hirara Port and to the entrance of the Bora training grounds in protest, calling for their removal and chanting, “Missiles are an obstacle to peace!”

The munitions were carried the training grounds in a truck. The JGSDF truck, which had a red “fire” symbol to indicate that it was carrying explosives, drove through bustling crowds in commercial districts, cutting its way through the city surrounded by an ostentatious guard.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (JMSDF) Shimokita transport craft, which was loaded with the missiles, docked at Hirara Port at 7:00 a.m. After docking, around 15 cargo trucks that appeared to have containers filled with munitions disembarked onto the wharf.

In front of the wharf gate, citizens who oppose the JSDF missile deployment conducted a “die-in,” lying flat on the ground as if they were corpses in a harsh protest of the transport. Police officers began removing protestors for a “traffic violation,” and around 11:00 a.m. the trucks were able to depart. At the entrance of the Bora Training Grounds protesters also conducted a sit-in, protesting the delivery of the missiles to the training area. After protestors were again removed by the police, the trucks entered the base and finished their delivery just after 1:00 p.m.

During World War 2, the Japanese army had a cart filled with munitions in the Bora region explode, killing a young child. One of the protestors of at the sit in, a farmer, 80, from Gusukube, Miyako, criticized, “Many of the elderly know what happened at that time, and oppose the deployment. It is a problem that this transfer happened without a meeting to explain things.” Hiromori Shimoji, co-representative of the “Citizens Group to Oppose Missile and Munition Deployment” said, “Starting today we are living under a cloud of anxiety.” He criticized the southwestern shift of defensive fortifications, saying, “Why does Okinawa need to be put in harm’s way as the site of a proxy war between America and China?”

(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)


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