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Sit-in against new U.S. air base mark 2000th day in Okinawa

On October 9, Okinawafs sit-in struggle against the U.S. and Japanese government plan to construct a new U.S. Marine Corps air base on the coastal area of Cape Henoko in Nago City in Okinawa Prefecture marked its 2000th day.

The sit-in action at the tent community is organized by the Nago Council to Block the Construction of U.S. On-Sea Heliport. On April 19, 2004, the first action took place to bloc the boring survey that the Naha Defense Facilities Administration Bureau started at the coastal area.

gNone of we sea people in Okinawa can accept the plan to see a new air base by reclaiming the sacred sea. All of us are determined to protect our sea and bloc the plan even if wefll end up as human sacrifices.h

The voices of old men and women at Henoko have been shared, day after day, by Nago citizens, Okinawans, and the Japanese throughout the archipelago who strive for people and social justice. Thanks to their united efforts, no air base has yet to appear on the beautiful sea site.

On October 8, twenty people visited the tents to join their sit-in. About 100,000 people in total went there.

Just in front of the tents, U.S. helicopters making lots of noise repeated come-and-go maneuvers and hovered just above the sea level. gThey are driving the sea mammal dugongs out of this sea area,h someone shouted in the tent.

Their struggle to foil the new air base plan has now reached a new phase.

As a result of the House of Representatives election in August, the former government parties of Liberal Democratic and Komei parties, promoters of the plan, lost many of their seats in the Diet.

The new Democratic Party-led government is being urged to meet the public demand of eNo to the planf that was expressed in the election campaign. It is called upon to review the ongoing U.S. plan to realign U.S. military bases in Japan, which includes the plan to replace the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station to Nago.

Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio, who in the general election called for moving the Futenmafs base to outside Okinawa, on October 8 made a statement that can be taken to mean his support for the relocation of the base within Okinawa which caused wide repercussions. He had only stated on the previous day that what the Okinawan people think about the new base issue is essential in gdealing with the matter.h

His wait-and-see policy was commented on by Gushikawa Toru, chief of the Northern Okinawa Liaison Council for United Action for Abrogation of the Security Treaty and Nago City Assembly member from the Japanese Communist Party, as follows:

gThere is no alternative for the new government but to sincerely accept the unbending desire of Okinawans, and launch negotiations with the U.S. government on an equal footing so that both sides will give up the new air base plan.h

- Akahata, October 9, 2009

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