This week’s featured article


The government on Friday pushed ahead with full-fledged land reclamation work needed to move a key U.S. air base to Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, despite stiff local resistance and legal wrangling.

The pouring of soil and sand began before noon in Nago’s Henoko district, where the replacement facility for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma is to be built, marking a new and significant phase in the relocation process. The unpopular base is currently in a crowded residential area of Ginowan.

“I cannot help feeling strong resentment toward the work being carried out in defiance of the prefectural residents’ will,” said Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki.

The relocation plan originated from an agreement reached between the Japanese and U.S. governments in 1996, after public anger was fueled by the 1995 gang rape of an Okinawa girl by three U.S. servicemen. But progress has been slow, with many residents hoping the base will be removed from the prefecture altogether.

Many hours before soil was dumped in a 6.3-hectare area on the southern side of the landfill site, protesters gathered in front of the gates of the U.S. Marines’ Camp Schwab, which is adjacent to the site, and held sit-in demonstrations in which they held up placards and called for immediate suspension of the work, facing off with the riot police.

“We have been betrayed by the government all too often. I am sick of it,” said Seiko Kaneku, 69, from the city of Uruma.

The current feud between the central and local governments re-emerged under the tenure of previous Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga, with the fight picked up by Tamaki — who was elected in September on an anti-U.S. base platform after his predecessor died of cancer.

But Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters in Tokyo that the central government will advance the construction work so as “to achieve the complete return of the Futenma air base (to Japan) at the earliest possible date.”

First published in The Japan Times on Dec. 14.

Warm up

One-minute chat about Okinawa.


Collect words related to army, e.g., camp, base, defense.

New words

1) reclamation: the conversion of land for use, e.g., “We are working on reclamation work.”

2) adjacent: side by side, e.g., “The office is adjacent to the school.”

3) feud: a long dispute between two groups, e.g., “The television show ‘Game of Thrones’ is about a feud between the fictional Stark and Lannister families.”

Guess the headline

Japan begins filling in Henoko B _ _ in Okinawa to make room for unpopular U.S. b _ _ _


1) What happened recently in Okinawa as part of the base relocation process?

2) What has been the reaction from local people?

3) Why did the Japanese and U.S. governemnts want to move the base in the first place?

Let’s discuss the article

1) What is your image of Okinawa?

2) What do you think about Okinawa having a new base?

3) What do you think is the solution for the issue?






「朝英語の会」とは、お友達や会社の仲間とThe Japan Timesの記事を活用しながら、楽しく英語が学べる朝活イベントです。この記事を教材に、お友達や会社の仲間を集めて、「朝英語の会」を立ち上げませんか? 朝から英字新聞で英語学習をする事で、英語を話す習慣が身に付き、自然とニュースの教養が身につきます。
株式会社ジャパンタイムズ「 朝英語の会」運営事務局
Phone: 03-3453-2337 (平日10:00 – 18:00)
email: info@club.japantimes.co.jp | http://jtimes.jp/asaeigo

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.