• Kyodo

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A three-day peace march started in Okinawa on Thursday, a day after the 30th anniversary of the prefecture’s 1972 reversion to Japan, organizers said.

About 1,500 people from across the country took to the streets on the first day of the May 15 Peace March.

The march started from three places — the Nago and Naha city government offices and the Henoko district in Nago, where an airport will be built to replace Futenma Marine Corps Air Station.

About 10,000 people from citizens’ groups and labor organizations nationwide are expected to join the march during its three days.

“I want to keep walking in this march as long as I am alive,” Osaka resident Kenichi Nakamoto, 90, said at the opening ceremony in front of the Naha Municipal Government office. “Let’s walk to call for the elimination of war.”

The marchers later headed for the site in the southern part of Okinawa Island where the fiercest battle in the World War II campaign was fought, calling for the removal of U.S. bases in the prefecture.

Kadena Air Base, the largest U.S. Air Force base in East Asia, and a peace park in the prefecture are also on the march’s 50-km itinerary.

After finishing at the Ginowan Park on Sunday afternoon, marchers will hold a protest rally against a package of three bills for emergency legislation governing Japan’s response to a military attack, the organizers said.

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