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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 1 - 7  > Shii: I’ll make efforts for Henoko base issue to be common challenge of 4 opposition parties
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2017 March 1 - 7 [POLITICS]

Shii: I’ll make efforts for Henoko base issue to be common challenge of 4 opposition parties

March 6, 2017
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo at a press conference in Okinawa’s Naha City on March 5 said that he will make efforts to promote dialogue with three other opposition parties to proactively make the Henoko base issue a common challenge of the four.

He has been visiting Okinawa since March 4 amid a crucial moment Okinawans face in regard to the construction of a new U.S. base in Henoko. During his 3-day Okinawa tour, he met with Governor Onaga Takeshi and Inamine Susumu, the mayor of Nago City where the new base site is located. Shii expressed his heartfelt solidarity with the two leaders and their fellow citizens. The purpose of his visit was to directly listen to the opinions of local residents concerning the new base.

Shii said to reporters, “PM Abe is single-mindedly going ahead with the construction of a new U.S. base. He is probably seeking to turn it into a fait accompli in order to take the wind out of anti-base protesters. ‘We won’t give up,’ however, is their committed response. As long as local residents keep up the resistance, the new base cannot be completed. ‘Never give up! is the way to win’ in this struggle.”

He also expressed his respect for all Okinawans by saying, “Meeting with Governor Onaga (Mar.5) and Mayor Inamine (Mar.4), I’ve come to understand how strong the local resistance is. I believe such strength comes from their harsh history and their postwar movement fighting for Okinawa’s reversion to Japan.”

The JCP chair continued to state, “The issue of U.S. bases in Okinawa is a matter that affects all of Japan, testing to see if the country truly embraces democracy,” and expressed his determination to do everything possible to reach an agreement among the opposition force to work together to resolve the issue as a common agenda.”

* * *

On March 4, JCP Chair Shii Kazuo visited demonstrators staging a sit-in outside U.S. Camp Schwab. They, some dressed in traditional attire, welcomed Shii with native dance and music.

He also went to Henoko beach to encourage people who have kept a vigilant watch for more than 4,700 days at the so-called tent village. It was there that he saw a big sign reading, “Never give up!’ is the way to win,” and announced that he would use this as a slogan of resistance at the next day’s press conference.

In addition, he boarded a protest boat to circle around a reclamation site for the base construction. Seeing firsthand the masses of coral reefs, he told reporters later, “It was breathtakingly so beautiful that I have become even more keenly aware of the need to block landfill work there at any cost.”
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