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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 September 2 - 8  > 200th demonstration demanding ‘No live-fire drill’ held in Okinawa
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2009 September 2 - 8 [US FORCES]

200th demonstration demanding ‘No live-fire drill’ held in Okinawa

September 3, 2009
The 200th weekly demonstration was held on September 2 in protest against live-fire exercises at U.S. Marine Corps Camp Hansen in Okinawa.Protesters called for the closure of the range used by the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army special forces.

The weekly action began in October 2005 in front of the gate of the USMC base.

Range 4 has been used for live-shell drills as part of anti-urban warfare drills modeled on the Iraq War. Situated very close to private land, bullets sometimes travel off range. In December 2008, a bullet hit a car at a private house. Mountain fires often occur due to the use of explosive munitions.

From 7:00 A.M., about 50 people from peace and democratic organizations, labor unions, and the Japanese Communist Party gathered in front of the base gate holding banners and placards written both in Japanese and English: “Stop live-fire shooting drill!” and “Halt co-use of Camp Hansen by the U.S. and Japan!”

The action was organized by the Okinawa Prefectural Liaison Council for United Action for Abrogation of the Security Treaty.

Referring to the recent statement of U.S. officials rejecting the holding of any consultations with the Japanese government on the issue of transforming U.S. forces in Japan, Arakaki Shigenobu, the council’s co-chair, stressed the urgent need to increase struggles to achieve Japan’s true independence, peace, and democracy.

Akamine Seiken, who was just reelected to the House of Representatives in the Kyushu bloc (including Okinawa) of the proportional representation election, addressed the crows on behalf of the JCP:

“It is of great significance that in the general election, all four representatives from Okinawa, in addition to me, are opposing the construction of a new U.S. Marine air base at Henoko in Naha City.

Apparently, this will encourage our actions in protest against the bullet hitting a private house in Kin Town as well as the construction of U.S. helipads in the northern training site. I’m determined to fight till Okinawa has no U.S. military bases.”

Okubo Yasuhiro, Okinawa Peace Committee secretary general, stated, “The shooting continues even now as we are walking in protest. A Japan-U.S. ‘global military alliance’ is taking shape at Camp Hansen. Let the world know about the extraordinary degree of militarization occurring in the northern part of Okinawa.”

Okimoto Koshin, Yambaru (northern part of Okinawa’s main island) Council for United Action for Abrogation of the Security Treaty secretary general, stated, “It is 13 years since the majority of Nago citizens in the referendum voted in opposition to the new base plan. Despite setbacks since then, Okinawans have been rising in opposition to the plan by making the general election a good chance to turn things around.” - Akahata, September 3, 2009
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