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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 June 19 - 25  > Cancel plan to use soil from ‘killing zone’ in Okinawa battle for Henoko base project: bereaved families
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2024 June 19 - 25 [POLITICS]

Cancel plan to use soil from ‘killing zone’ in Okinawa battle for Henoko base project: bereaved families

June 19, 2024

About 120 citizens, including bereaved families of the Okinawa war dead, on June 18 made representations to the government, demanding the cancellation of its plan to use sand that contains the remains of those killed in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa for the Henoko reclamation work for the construction of a U.S. base.

Along with Okinawa-elected Japanese Communist Party Lower House member Akamine Seiken, opposition lawmakers joined in the representations held in the Lower House members’ office building.

According to the Defense Ministry’s procurement plan, about 70% of earth and sand to be used as reclamation materials will be collected in the southern part of Okinawa’s mainland which is known as the former killing zone in the Battle of Okinawa which took place in the last stages of WWII.

In the representations, Gushiken Takamatsu, who heads a volunteer group in Okinawa working to return the remains of the war dead to the bereaved families, put a glass jar which contains sand from the killing zone on the desk where officials of the Defense Ministry and the Cabinet Office were sitting. He stressed that as shown by the jar, it is impossible to distinguish between soil and the soil mixed with the remains of the Okinawa Battle dead. He said that collecting soil for the Henoko project in the former fierce battleground is unacceptable.

The bereaved families said that the government plan tramples on the dignity of the dead.

A Defense Ministry official said that the ministry will take the matter into serious consideration. In reaction, the participants said, “In this case, the ministry should give up on mining sand from the burial sites of Okinawa war dead.” The ministry official gave no clear response.

Past related articles:
> 107 local assemblies object to use of sand that includes remains of the war dead for US base project in Okinawa [October 28, 2021]
> 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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