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2013 December 11 - 17 TOP3 [OKINAWA]

Okinawans launch sit-in against landfill for US base construction

December 17, 2013
Okinawan residents on December 16 launched a sit-in in front of the prefectural government office calling on the governor to turn down the national government’s request for an approval to reclaim waters off Nago City in order to build a new U.S. base.

Seeking the construction of a new base in the Henoko district, Nago City, as an alternative to the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station, the Abe Cabinet is trying to receive approval from Governor Nakaima Hirokazu by the end of this year.

The action was organized by a prefectural association consisting of local peace groups, labor unions, the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party, and the Political Local Party of Okinawa.

About 130 people took part in a rally to kick off the action, which is planned to continue till December 27. They shouted, “Kichi Iranai (No base)!”

Joining the protest together with JCP Okinawa Prefectural Assembly members, JCP House of Representatives member Akamine Seiken criticized the Abe Cabinet for forcing Okinawan parliamentarians of the Liberal Democratic Party to withdraw their election promise to move the Futenma base outside Okinawa. “Being totally ignorant about our sufferings during the battle of Okinawa and after the war, Prime Minister Abe should not ignore Okinawans’ will,” he said.

On the same day in Nago City, the JCP Okinawa Prefectural Committee and a prefectural liaison council against the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty held a rally in support of the anti-base incumbent Inamine Susumu in the upcoming mayoral election scheduled for January 19.

Calling for a wider public support in order to achieve Inamine’s second term in office, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi stressed that the mayor has successfully increased the city’s tax revenues without depending on state subsidies given in exchange for accepting the new base construction plan and, in addition, improved welfare programs and residents’ living conditions.

Inamine expressed his determination to block the new base construction by saying, “Okinawan demand for the U.S. base to be moved out of Okinawa remains strong. As a new base is said to be operational for 100 years, it will place enormous burdens on our children and grandchildren.”

Past related article:
> Nago City approves mayor’s statement against Henoko reclamation for US base construction (November 23, 2013)
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