Okinawa protest: Thousands rally for removing of U.S. army base

TOKYO — Tens of hundreds of protesters in Okinawa vowed to cease the deliberate relocation of a U.S army base, saying they need it off the southern Japanese island totally.

Opponents of the relocation say the plan to maneuver U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from a crowded neighborhood to a much less populated coastal website wouldn’t solely be an environmental debacle but additionally ignore native needs to take away the bottom.

About 70,000 folks gathered Saturday at a park within the state capital of Naha underneath pouring rain forward of an approaching hurricane and noticed a second of silence for Okinawa’s governor, Takeshi Onaga, who died Wednesday of most cancers.

Onaga, elected in 2014, had spearheaded opposition to the relocation and criticized the central authorities for ignoring the voices of Okinawans. He had filed lawsuits in opposition to the central authorities and mentioned he deliberate to revoke a landfill allow issued by his predecessor that’s wanted for building of the brand new base.

Deputy Gov. Kiichiro Jahana, representing Onaga at Saturday’s rally, mentioned he’ll comply with by means of with the revocation course of as instructed by the governor and succeed his “strong determination and passion.”

Okinawans try to dam the federal government plan to begin dumping soil into Henoko Bay inside days to make a landfill for the brand new website of the Futenma base. Environmental teams say building on the bay dangers corals and endangered dugongs.

The protesters held up indicators saying “Henoko new base, NO!” and “Okinawans will not give up,” as they chanted slogans. They additionally adopted a decision demanding the central authorities to instantly scrap the relocation plan.

Japan’s authorities says the present plan is the one answer, however many Okinawans need the bottom off the island. About half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan are stationed on Okinawa.

Onaga had mentioned Tokyo’s postwar protection posture underneath the Japan-U.S. safety alliance was constructed on Okinawa’s sacrifice.

The dispute over the Futenma relocation displays centuries-old tensions between Okinawa and the Japanese mainland, which annexed the islands, previously the unbiased kingdom of the Ryukus, in 1878. Okinawa was Japan’s solely house battleground within the remaining days of World War II, and the island remained underneath U.S. rule for 20 years longer than the remainder of Japan.

Okinawa continues to be compelled to sacrifice for the curiosity of the mainland, Onaga’s son Takeharu, an Okinawa assemblyman, instructed the rally.

“The (relocation issue) is pushed to Okinawa because nobody on the mainland wants it,” he mentioned, urging the remainder of the nation to additionally take into consideration the difficulty. “Let us keep fighting so we can achieve my father’s unfinished goal and give him good news.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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