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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 May 16 - 22  > Defense Ministry uses MSDF to forcibly carry out survey for new U.S. base construction
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2007 May 16 - 22 TOP3 [SDF]

Defense Ministry uses MSDF to forcibly carry out survey for new U.S. base construction

May 19, 2007
In defiance of local residents’ protests, the government forcibly began conducting an on-site survey using a MSDF minesweeper tender for laying the groundwork for constructing a new U.S. base in Okinawa.

In defiance of local residents’ strong protests, the Naha Defense Facilities Administration Bureau (NDFA) on May 18 began conducting a preliminary on-site survey for constructing a new U.S. base in the sea off U.S. Marine Camp Schwab in Okinawa’s Nago City.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force took part in the underwater survey project.

About 100 protesters gathered at Henoko Port on the early morning of that day. They held a sit-in at the entrance to the fishing port in protest against setting up a facility for the survey in the port. They also took part in protest activities in the water.

Around 5 a.m., the Japan Coast Guard’s vessels and rafts began patrolling the area. The NFDA ships placed devices there an hour later.

The MSDF minesweeper tender Bungo, sent from the Yokosuka Base in Kanagawa Prefecture, was reportedly assisting in the survey operation.

Nakamoto Koshin, Yanbaru (Northern Okinawa) United Actions Liaison Council secretary general, said, “It is outrageous for the government to mobilize the SDF to put pressure on local residents in order to forcibly conduct the survey in violation of the environmental assessment law. We will work together to increase public opinion in order to block the survey.”

Meanwhile, at a House of Representatives Security Committee meeting on the day, Japanese Communist Party representative Akamine Seiken expressed his protest against the Defense Ministry’s measure to send the MSDF Bungo to the area, stating, “This is nothing but intimidation of the local residents.” He demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Bungo.

Akamine asked Defense Minister Kyuma Fumio if the SDF will provide security against residents’ non-violent protest activities against the base construction.

Kyuma said, “We have not considered such a case,” but went on to say, “It could be possible.”

The NFDA is conducting a survey on marine species in the sea off the Henoko district. - Akahata, May 19, 2007
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