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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 July 10 - 16  > Okinawans’ 6,000 day-long sit-in blocking US base construction
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2013 July 10 - 16 TOP3 [OKINAWA]

Okinawans’ 6,000 day-long sit-in blocking US base construction

July 11, 2013
Akahata ‘Current’ column

Okinawa residents’ continuous sit-in action against the construction of a new U.S. base in the sea off the Henoko district has exceeded 6,000 days this month. It has been 17 years since the Japanese and U.S. governments agreed in 1996 to build a massive on-sea military base at this site as a replacement to the U.S. Futenma base.

Holding a signboard that read, “Public says no to base construction,” residents hold the sit-in every single day at the Henoko beach facing the cobalt blue ocean. This determined and tenacious effort has been supported by peace loving citizens throughout the nation.

What they are trying to protect from the U.S. military’s destruction is the local precious ocean ecosystem, the habitat of a variety of coral and endangered species of dugong, sea turtle, and walking goby.

Local protesters are carrying on in the footsteps of their leader Onishi Teruo, co-head of the Nago Council against the Construction of the U.S. On-Sea Heliport who passed away last month. He once described the struggle as a “dauntless fight filled with human bonds of solidarity”.

The Abe Cabinet promotes the strengthening of the Japan-U.S. military alliance and the new base construction. Furuken Saneyoshi, who had sent Okinawans’ demands to the national political arena as a Lower House member of the Japanese Communist Party, continues to be engaged in the local movement to get U.S. bases out of Okinawa. The 84-year-old man said, “Giving up is not an option. Although we will experience ups and downs, we will prevail in the end.”

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