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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 February 17 - 23  > JCP Akamine: Don’t use soil from ‘killing zone’ in Battle of Okinawa to build new US base in Henoko
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2021 February 17 - 23 [POLITICS]

JCP Akamine: Don’t use soil from ‘killing zone’ in Battle of Okinawa to build new US base in Henoko

February 18, 2021

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Akamine Seiken on February 17 at a House Budget Committee meeting demanded that the government abandon its plan to use soil collected in the former killing zone in the Battle of Okinawa, which took place in the last stages of WWII, to reclaim land to construct a new U.S. base in Okinawa’s Nago City.

Under the government plan, 70% of sand and earth to be used as landfill materials will be collected from the southern part of the Okinawa main island where the bloodiest battle was fought during the Battle of Okinawa.

The JCP lawmaker pointed out that this plan has aroused great anger among Okinawans. He said that the government should take into consideration the grief of bereaved families of the victims of the brutal battle, and demanded the cancellation of the controversial plan to mine sand from burial sites of Okinawan war dead.

In response, Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo said, “Construction companies will excavate earth and sand with a careful visual check to ensure battle victims’ remains are not disturbed,” showing his intent to go forward with the plan.

Akamine pointed out that human bones buried for a long time are similar in color to soil and that construction companies will use heavy machinery for the excavation. He said that there is no guarantee that the victims’ remains will not end up as landfill materials. He again urged the government to cancel the plan which violates the dignity of the dead and instead concentrate on collecting the unearthed skeletons of Okinawans.

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide in reply only said that when beginning the gathering of landfill materials as planned, the government will request contractors to be careful not to include such remains in landfill materials.

Past related article:
> Rally held to oppose use of soil from 'killing zone' in Battle of Okinawa for Henoko base project [November 28 & 30, 2020]
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