17,000 people in ‘human chain’ call for removal of Futenma base


Original source

On May 16, about 17,000 people braved the strong winds and rain to surround the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station with a “human chain,” calling for the removal of the base and opposing its relocation within Okinawa.

Participants held up placards and banners that read, “Never accept a new U.S. base at Henoko! Prime Minister Hatoyama, keep your promise!”

Leaders of seven municipalities, including Ginowan City Mayor Iha Yoichi and Nago’s Inamine Susumu, for the first time took part in the “human chain” action. Iju Tadayuki, who is a candidate supported by progressive forces in Okinawa in the upcoming House of Councilors election, also participated in the action.

At a rally held in front of the Futenma base, Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Akamine Seiken said, “Our strong solidarity will put pressure on both the Japanese and the U.S. governments and will help to initiate the unconditional removal of the Futenma base.”

A 34-year-old female participant with four small children in tow stated, “There is no place for a new U.S. base in Okinawa. I want Prime Minister Hatoyama to keep his promise.”

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On May 16, after the “human chain” action, Iha Yoichi, mayor of Ginowan City hosting the Futenma base and relocation candidate site Nago City Mayor Inamine Susumu issued a joint statement opposing the relocation of the Futenma base within Okinawa.

Proclaming, “For citizens of Nago and Ginowan cities and for the future generations, we have to succeed in achieving an Okinawa without military bases so that people can live in peace,” the statement urges the Japanese and the U.S. governments to give up on transferring the Futenma base within the prefecture, to immediately close and return the base, and to reduce Okinawan’s burden of U.S. bases.

Iha said, “If the government plans to build another U.S. base in return for a closed base, Okinawan’s burden will remain unchanged.”

Photo: Okinawa Steve, cc by 2.0

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