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The government must put peoplefs dignity ahead of militaristic logic: JCP Akamine on Futenma issue

At the January 22 Lower House budget committee meeting, Japanese Communist Party representative Akamine Seiken urged Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio to negotiate with the U.S. for an unconditional return of the U.S. Futenma base in Okinawa, and stressed that Hatoyama, as head of a sovereign nation, must respond to the peoplefs demand.

gThe government must reflect on the history of Okinawa in which the residents have been treated as mere worms under the influence of the U.S. bases,h said Akamine.

During WWII, the only land battle on Japanese soil took place in Okinawa. After landing on Okinawa, U.S. forces confined local residents in concentration camps while they seized public and private lands to build military bases. Residents later returned to their land only to find out that the land had been turned into military bases fenced with barbed wire.

Akamine said, gAfter the signing of the San Francisco Treaty in 1951, the U.S. forces ejected even more residents from their land by threatening them with bayonets and bulldozers in order to further expand the military bases.h

He stated that in his hometown, in the Oroku district of Naha City, the then U.S. forces seized residentsf land saying that they would build a water supply system, but what they built instead was a fuel storage tank. gThe U.S. forces brought in large numbers of soldiers, armored cars, and trucks to our village. The residents, who staged sit-in protests against the flagrant land grab, were hit with guns, kicked, wrapped up in blankets and tossed aside. The U.S. forces did the same all over Okinawa,h he said.

gThe Okinawans experienced many unforgettable tragedies,h said Akamine, and talked about some of the numerous crimes and accidents involving U.S. servicemen. For instance, when Akamine was in the first grade of elementary school, a six-year old girl was raped, killed, and left at a dump site by U.S. military personnel. When he was in the sixth grade, a U.S. warplane crashed into an elementary school in Okinawa, killing 17 people including pupils.

Criticizing the government for maintaining the argument that Japan must maintain U.S. bases on its territory as gdeterrence,h Akamine stressed, gThis is the logic that has been used to force Okinawans to endure the base burdens for 65 years. The government must put the peoplefs dignity ahead of its outdated and unjustifiable militaristic logic.h

- Akahata, January 23, 2010

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