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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 June 27 - July 3  > Defense minister acts as US gov’t messenger boy: Okinawan people
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2012 June 27 - July 3 [OKINAWA]

Defense minister acts as US gov’t messenger boy: Okinawan people

June 30 & July 1, 2012
Defense Minister Morimoto Satoshi met with strong protests from citizens during his visit to Okinawa Prefecture and Iwakuni City asking local governments to accept the planned Osprey deployment.

On June 30 in Okinawa’s Ginowan City, which hosts the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station, holding placards and banners, reading, “Stop Osprey deployment!”, plaintiffs in a lawsuit over Futenma base noise pollution and many other citizens carried out a protest action against the minister’s arrival in front of the city office building.

Criticizing Morimoto, one participant said, “He’s not Japan’s minister but a U.S. government messenger boy.”

Later in the day, about 200 people representing a number of civic groups and trade unions converged on the Okinawa Prefectural government office building to hold a rally demanding the cancellation of the deployment. When the defense minister appeared, they fired a broadside at him, saying, “Minister, which country are you serving?”

Representatives of the Japanese Communist, Social Democratic, and Okinawa Social Mass parties also took part in the rally. JCP member of the prefectural assembly Maeda Masaaki said to the demonstrators, “The U.S. claim that the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty authorizes the deployment is unacceptable. Let’s work to create an Okinawa and a Japan without U.S. bases by scraping the deployment plan and abrogating the military treaty.”

On the next day, July 1, Morimoto went to the Iwakuni City office building in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Waiting for him there was another protest action held by about 130 citizens. The protesters urged the minister to not allow the U.S. to bring Osprey aircraft to the U.S. Iwakuni base in order to conduct test flights.
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