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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 September 27 - October 3  > JCP Dietmembers join in Okinawans’ sit-in protest against Henoko base project
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2023 September 27 - October 3 [POLITICS]

JCP Dietmembers join in Okinawans’ sit-in protest against Henoko base project

September 29, 2023
Japanese Communist Party parliamentarians on September 28 took part in Okinawans’ sit-in protest against the construction of a new U.S. base in Nago’s Henoko district in the prefecture.

JCP Dietmembers who participated in the protest action included JCP Secretariat Head Koike Akira (Upper House), JCP members of the House of Representatives Akamine Seiken, Shiokawa Tetsuya, Miyamoto Toru, Tamura Takaaki, and Motomura Nobuko along with JCP member of the House of Councilors Yamazoe Taku.

Delivering a speech in solidarity, Koike noted that the sit-in protest near the gate of U.S. Camp Schwab next to the base construction site has continued nonstop for 3,371 days, and said, “On behalf of the JCP, I express my heartfelt solidarity with Okinawans’ anti-base fight.”

Koike said that it is quite natural that Okinawa Governor Tamaki Denny, in response to Okinawans’ demands, refused to accept Tokyo’s request for approval of the construction design change needed to shore up the soft seafloor in parts of the reclamation site for the new base.

Koike referred to the central government’s plan to use soil collected from the southern part of the Okinawa main island, which include burial sites of those who died in the Okinawa Battle, for the Henoko landfill work. He said, “The JCP is working hard to scrap this plan as it tramples on the dignity of the dead.”

After joining the sit-in protest, JCP Dietmembers conducted an investigation into the PFAS contamination in areas around U.S. bases in the prefecture.

In Okinawa City, the JCP group held a hearing with a prefectural government official at Dakujaku River which runs through the U.S. Kadena base stretching over Kadena and Okinawa cities and Chatan Town, and flows into the Chatan water purification plant. According to the prefectural government official, a combined concentration of PFOS and PFOA at 512 nanograms per liter, about 10 times greater than the government-set standards (50 nanograms per liter), was detected in the river.

The official said that considering the Kadena base as a potential contamination source, the prefectural government has repeatedly made requests to the U.S. military for an on-site investigation, but the requests were never accepted. The official said that the central government should identify PFAS pollution sources without delay. Koike said, “We will take up this issue in the Diet and push the Japanese and U.S. governments to take necessary action.”

In Ginowan City, which hosts the U.S. Futenma base, JCP Dietmembers met with a civic group working on the PFAS contamination issue. A group member, Machida Naomi, expressed her hope that the JCP parliamentarians’ Diet efforts to resolve the issue with the realization of on-site independent investigations at U.S. military facilities.

Past related articles:
> Japan-US SOFA hampers Okinawa's PFAS investigation [March 4, 2023]
> JCP Akamine: Don’t use soil from ‘killing zone’ in Battle of Okinawa to build new US base in Henoko [February 18, 2021]
> Mayonnaise sea bottom will lead Henoko base project to dead end [January, 22, 2019]
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