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15,000 people encircle U.S. Kadena base


   On May 13, about 15,000 people took part in a ghuman chainh action encircling the U.S. Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, calling for the military base to be removed.


   Being held in advance of May 15, the 35th anniversary of the return of Okinawa to Japan, this was the fourth ghuman chainh action around the Kadena base and the first since 2000.


   gThis is how I can express my opinion,h said a 56-year-old woman, adding that she has taken part in every ghuman chainh action for 20 years. She said that she wants to know when the Okinawansf demand for the removal of U.S. bases will be met.


   A 31-year-old male participant living in Okinawa City said, gThe government is insisting that the U.S. base realignment will reduce Okinawafs base burdens. But the noise pollutions and other burdens have not been reduced at all.h


   gI think adding even one more participant, like me, is still meaningful,h said a 23-year-old woman from Naha City.


   A number of people coming from mainland Japan also joined the action. Shiiba Torao, 69, whose wife was severely injured in the 1977 U.S. military aircraft crash in Yokohama City, said, gMilitary bases must be removed so we can live in peace and happiness as guaranteed by the Constitution.h


   The action organizing committee consisted of the Okinawan Liaison Council against the Security Treaty, the Okinawa Trade Union Federation, the plaintiffsf group of a lawsuit against noise pollution at the Kadena base, the Japanese Communist Party, and other civic organizations and political parties.


   The government is implementing the plan to realign and strengthen U.S. base functions in Okinawa, including the construction of a new U.S. base in Nago Cityfs Henoko district and the deployment of Patriot missiles to the Kadena base.

- Akahata, May 14, 2007


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