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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 April 26 - May 9  > Offshore work preliminary to landfill work commences in Henoko
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2017 April 26 - May 9 [POLITICS]

Offshore work preliminary to landfill work commences in Henoko

April 26, 2017
Amid local protest, the Defense Ministry’s Okinawa Defense Bureau on the morning of April 25 embarked on bank protection work that is preliminary to reclamation work associated with the construction of a new U.S. base in Henoko.

The Japanese and U.S. governments still fall short of starting full-scale base construction work due to strong local resistance. Apparently, the preliminary work is aimed at making Okinawans lose hope for a cancellation of the Henoko facility project by showing the “progress” of the project upon Okinawans.

At the site were civilian boats and canoes protesting the embankments work in addition to the Japan Coast Guard’s rubber rafts and the Okinawa Defense Bureau’s crafts cracking down on the on-sea protesters. In front of the gate of U.S. Camp Schwab leading to the construction site, about 100 citizens from early in the morning staged a sit-in protest.

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira in Tokyo held a press conference on the same day and expressed his firm protest of the start of shoreline work.

Koike referred to local opinion polls conducted on April 22 and 23 by Asahi Shimbun, the Okinawa Times, and Ryukyu-Asahi Broadcasting in which more than 60% of Okinawans answered they “oppose” hosting another foreign base in Okinawa. These surveys also show that nearly 70% feel that the Abe government “does not listen” to local opinion.

Koike said, “To dismiss public opinion out of hand would be impossible in a democratic country. What is called into question in Japan now is its state of democracy.”

Meanwhile, Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi at the prefectural office told the press that he will try his best to reverse the situation as the work is still in the preparatory process. He also said that he is considering taking some countermeasures, including lawsuits.

Koike in Tokyo expressed that the JCP will resolutely support Governor Onaga, saying, “Our party will work even harder to increase solidarity with anti-base Okinawans’ struggle throughout Japan and put a stop to the U.S. base construction.”

Past related article:
> Shii: I’ll make efforts for Henoko base issue to be common challenge of 4 opposition parties [March 6, 2017]
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