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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 June 19 - 25  > JCP Koike on Okinawa’s Memorial Day determines not to turn Okinawa into battlefield again
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2024 June 19 - 25 [POLITICS]

JCP Koike on Okinawa’s Memorial Day determines not to turn Okinawa into battlefield again

June 24, 2024

On June 23, Okinawa Prefecture marked the 79th “Memorial Day”, the anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa, the bloodiest ground battle in Japan fought in the closing days of WWII took the lives of more than 200,000 people, roughly one in four Okinawans.

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira on this day visited memorials honoring those killed in the battle and other war related sites in Okinawa’s Itoman City, where the last fierce battle took place, and renewed his determination to work to not turn Okinawa into a battlefield again.

He was accompanied by Okinawa-elected JCP Lower House member Akamine Seiken and JCP members of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly.

Offering flowers at one of the memorials, the Konpaku-no-to Monument, Koike pointed out that Japanese Imperial Army General Ushijima Mitsuru, before committing suicide, ordered the troops to fight right to the end for the sake of defending the Emperor (Tenno) and the Japanese mainland, which caused countless deaths and casualties.

Koike noted that the Gound Self-Defense Force’s Naha-based 15th Brigade recently displayed General Ushijima’s military uniform at its exhibition facility. He said, “This act is tantamount to glorifying the former Japanese military and thus is unacceptable,” and added that the JCP will work hard to put an end to the Kishida government intent to use Okinawa as a “sacrificial pawn” again through measures such as strengthening SDF functions in the prefecture and pushing forward with the Henoko U.S. base project.

Later in the day, Koike met with Gushiken Takamatsu, the head of a local volunteer group working to return the remains of the Okinawan war dead to bereaved families, at his hunger strike site. Gushiken went on the hunger strike in the vicinity of the venue for the prefecture-hosted memorial service with the aim of calling on Prime Minister Kishida, who attended the memorial ceremony, to give up on the plan to use soil collected from the former killing zone of the Okinawa battle, including Itoman City, for the Henoko landfill work.
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