JCP Shii encourages Henoko's residents in sit-in against new U.S. air base

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on May 27 visited the Henoko district of Nago City, Okinawa, to encourage residents engaged in a sit-in for more than 400 days against the construction of a state-of-the-art U.S. military air base.

Japan's Defense Facilities Administration Agency last year set up four drilling derricks offshore and delivered necessary materials. Recently, they began work at night.

"Your 400 days' full-time watch has successfully prevented drilling from taking place," Shii stressed.

Shii shook hands with Ashitomi Hiroshi, the chief of the Nago Council against the Construction of U.S. On-Sea Heliport and other participants.

Escorted by Ohnishi Teruo, Nago City Peace Committee chair, Shii boarded a boat and inspected the planned construction site, a beautiful coral reef, the habitat of rare species of dugong.

Later in the day, Shii commented on the recent developments relating to the base construction at a press conference in Naha City. He made the following points:

(1) Residents' consistent struggle has stemmed the 1996 Japan-U.S. Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO)'s final report that called for a new base in Nago as a U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station relocation from proceeding.

(2) Japan-U.S. defense-related ministers reiterated last February the need to steadily implement the SACO final agreement, and Japanese government officials in the Diet spoke in support of the construction plan, indicating that they have not given up on the new base plan.

(3) The more they adhere to the new base plan, the agreed immediate withdrawal of the Futenma air base will become impossible. - Akahata, May 28, 2005

Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved.