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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 29 - April 4  > Sit-in protest against US base construction in Okinawa reaches 1,000th day
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2017 March 29 - April 4 [POLITICS]

Sit-in protest against US base construction in Okinawa reaches 1,000th day

April 2, 2017
The sit-in protest against the U.S. military base construction in the Henoko coastal district in Okinawa’s Nago City, which has been staged in front of the gate of U.S. Camp Schwab, marked its 1,000th day on April 1.

This action started on July 7, 2014, just after the regional bureau of the Defense Ministry began preparations for exploratory drilling at the planned construction site. Meanwhile, local residents have held sit-ins on the Henoko beach since the construction project was announced in 1996.

On the commemoration day, braving the rain, more than 600 people participated in the protest rally held outside the camp gate. They held banners and signboards demanding an immediate halt to the construction work.

At the rally, Ashitomi Hiroshi, a co-representative of the anti-U.S. Heliport Council, condemned the defense bureau for attempting to continue the work in disregard of the fact that the former governor’s permission to destroy coral reefs for the landfill work expired on March 31. Ashitomi stressed the importance of taking the Abe administration to task for acting illegally. He also emphasized that continued local protests will put pressure on both the Japanese and U.S. governments.

Shimabukuro Fumiko, 87, who had survived the bloody Battle of Okinawa, referred to the fact that the U.S. forces landed on the main island of Okinawa exactly 72 years ago. “I’ll keep fighting until the day we can regain a peaceful Okinawa by removing all U.S. bases,” she said.

Okinawa-elected opposition lawmakers, including Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Akamine Seiken, joined the action and gave speeches in solidarity.

Past related article:
> Shii: I’ll make efforts for Henoko base issue to be common challenge of 4 opposition parties [March 6, 2017]
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