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Mayor condemns U.S. warships' entry into Ishigaki Port

About 200 peace activists and citizens staged a protest on April 5 against two U.S. minesweepers' use of Ishigaki Port, Okinawa.

The two minesweepers, the USS Guardian (MSM5) and the USS Patriot (MCM7) which are based at the U.S. Navy Sasebo Base in Nagasaki Prefecture, entered the port on the same day in defiance of the strong opposition by Ishigaki Mayor Ohama Nagateru as well as the citizens.

As the administrator of Ishigaki Port, the Ishigaki mayor issued a statement in opposition to the U.S. warships' entry into the port and joined with citizens to hold a protest rally.

In his statement Ohama said, "The U.S. warships' entry into the port in defiance of the citizens' repeated protests is unacceptable. They threaten the safety of local residents who aspire to peace and cause deep concerns and fear to the residents of the Yaeyama District."

A 61-year-old woman in the rally said, "The Foreign Ministry asked Mayor Ohama 'to extend equal treatment to U.S. warships'. Under this logic, U.S. warships can't enter the port without the port administrator's permission. We do not want warships to come because they are killing machines. In Okinawa,

everyone knows that military forces do not protect local residents."

- Akahata, April 4, 2009

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