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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 June 19 - 25  > Okinawans jeer at PM Abe mouthing platitudes about Okinawa’s base burden
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2019 June 19 - 25 [POLITICS]

Okinawans jeer at PM Abe mouthing platitudes about Okinawa’s base burden

June 24, 2019

At an annual memorial service on June 23 for the war dead from the Battle of Okinawa, catcalls rained down on Prime Minister Abe during his speech which ignored Okinawans’ opposition to the new U.S. base project at Henoko.

In Okinawa, June 23 is the day commemorating the deaths of more than 200,000 people who were killed in the Battle of Okinawa during WWII which officially ended on this day 74 years ago. Every year, a memorial ceremony co-hosted by the prefectural government and assembly takes place in Peace Memorial Park in Itoman City.

In this year’s ceremony, 5,100 people, including bereaved families, survivors, Prime Minister Abe, and the chairpersons of both Houses of the Diet, participated. Japanese Communist Party Lower House member Akamine Seiken and other Okinawa-elected parliamentarians also attended the ceremony.

Reading out the Peace Declaration, Governor Tamaki Denny pointed out that the central government is going forward with the Henoko reclamation work despite the outcome of the February referendum underlining Okinawans’ overwhelming opposition to the landfill work. The governor criticized Tokyo not only for disrespecting Okinawans expressing their will rightfully through democratic procedures but also for infringing on Okinawa’s constitutional right of local self-government. In conclusion, Tamaki in Okinawan dialect and in English said, “We must pass down Okinawa’s warm heart we call ‘Chimugukuru’ and its spirit of peace, inherited from our ancestors, to our children and grandchildren,” and expressed his determination to “forge a world of everlasting peace,” receiving enthusiastic applause from local participants.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abe in his speech shamelessly mentioned the government effort to reduce Okinawa’s base burdens which elicited taunts of “Lier!” After the ceremony, asked by reporters about Okinawans’ firm opposition to the Henoko base project, PM Abe expressed his intent to bulldoze the project through any opposition.

A 77-year-old male participant from Yomitan Village said, “PM Abe just offered empty platitudes and showed that he will not listen to our voices. He arrogantly insults us.”

Past related article:
> Abe on day of Okinawa battle memorial: gov't sticks to Henoko base plan [June 24, 2018]

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