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More than 800 participate in protest rally against Henoko relocation

  • December 5, 2021
  • , Mainichi , p. 27
  • JMH Translation

On Dec. 4, Okinawans opposed to the relocation of the U.S. Futenma Air Station to Henoko, Nago City, held a protest rally called “Okinawans Take Action.” Dec. 14 will mark three years since the Japanese government started landfill work in the coastal area of Henoko in December 2018. More than 800 people (according to the organizers) gathered in front of the Camp Schwab gate, which is adjacent to the construction site, and chanted, “We oppose the new base!”

 

“We are unwavering [in our opposition to the base],” said Governor Tamaki Denny. “We join together in solidarity, drawing on our pride as Uchinanchu (Okinawan people) and respect for nature.”

 

“I don’t want to hand down [the burden of] the base to future generations,” said Sakai Risako, a graduate student from Naha City who participated in the rally for the first time. “I am surprised so many people feel so strongly.”

 

Okinawa Prefecture withdrew its landfill approval in August 2018, but the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism canceled the withdrawal by issuing a ruling. The prefecture continues to lose in court cases against the national government. In April 2020, the Japanese government applied to the prefecture for approval of a design change to improve the soft seabed found in the area designated for the construction. Governor Tamaki rejected the application in November 2021.

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