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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 October 14 - 20  > Okinawans welcome governor’s decision revoking permit for US base construction
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2015 October 14 - 20 [POLITICS]

Okinawans welcome governor’s decision revoking permit for US base construction

October 14, 2015
Okinawans enthusiastically welcomed Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi’s decision to revoke his predecessor’s permission for the landfill work to build a new U.S. military base off the Henoko coast in Nago City.

On October 13, in protest against the ongoing work, about 200 people were engaged in a sit down action in front of the gate of U.S. Camp Schwab which is adjacent to the construction site. At a few minutes after 10 a.m., when the governor’s announcement of the revocation was aired live on the Internet, a shout of joy arose with loud applause and whistles. They then danced the Okinawan folk dance “kachasi” together.

An 86-year-old woman, Shimabukuro Fumiko, has taken part in the sit-in protest for 19 years. “I’m sitting in here and it’s tough, but I’ll continue the struggle,” she said with a smile.

Ashitomi Hiroshi, co-leader of the anti-U.S. heliport council, said, “It is important to further strengthen our support for the governor.” Nakamura Tsukasa, representative of the Okinawa United Action Liaison Council (Toitsuren) said, “Let’s bring down the Abe government by expanding our campaign to remove all U.S. bases from Okinawa.”

Ochiai Hiro, 20, came from Kagawa Prefecture to participate in the sit-in. “I’m really encouraged by Okinawans who are tenaciously facing up to the national government. I want to assist them in their fight to change national policies,” he said.

On the same day, Nago City Mayor Inamine Susumu told reporters that he will fully support the governor’s decision. Asked about expected court battles with Tokyo, he said, “I’ll further increase the cooperation with prefectural authorities to deal with this issue.”

Meanwhile, four opposition lawmakers elected from Okinawa held a press conference in the prefectural office building and issued a joint statement urging the central government to put an immediate halt to the work in accordance with the governor’s decision. The statement also demands that the Abe administration give up on the base construction as well as work to shut down the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station which is in the middle of densely-populated areas in Ginowan City.

Japanese Communist Party parliamentarian Akamine Seiken stressed, “The Abe administration should not counter the prefectural government by implementing stopgap measures such as application for administrative review. Together with local people, we’ll back Governor Onaga with all our strength.”
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