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2014 February 26 - March 4 [OKINAWA]

Okinawans protest against SDF deployment in Ishigaki City

February 26, 2014
Residents in Okinawa on February 25 made representations to Ishigaki City Mayor Nakayama Yoshitaka urging him to reject the national government’s plan to deploy Ground Self-Defense Force units to the city.
They are members of a liaison council to defend the pacifist Constitution in Okinawa’s Yaeyama region, consisting of local peace organizations and labor unions. They also demand that the national government cancel the deployment plan.

A statement they submitted to the mayor argues, “To strengthen defense capabilities in the Southwest Islands would only deepen tensions with neighboring countries.”

It points out that the security and peace of citizens living on the national border should be ensured not by military buildup but by peaceful diplomacy as well as cultural and economic exchanges.

At a press conference held in Ishigaki City on the same day, a representative of the group said that during the 1945 Battle of Okinawa, one-third of local residents were killed in the city’s Hirae district, where the Japanese Army’s airfield was located. “Through this tragic experience, we know that a military presence does not protect residents and that their very presence could be a target for attack.”
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