National

Okinawa sit-in protest against Futenma relocation hits 5,000 days

JIJI

A sit-in protest by citizens opposed to the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma air station in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, to the Henoko coastal area in Nago, reached its 5,000th day Tuesday.

On the same day, a protest rally was held in front of a gate of the U.S. military’s Camp Schwab, which straddles Nago and the village of Ginoza, bringing together 500 people, according to its organizer.

Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine, who took part in the rally, said that the city’s mayoral election in February 2018 will be a “must-win” race.

“My resolve not to allow the construction of a new base in the sea off or on the land of Henoko has not changed at all,” said Inamine.

Yoko Akagi, 65, from the Okinawa village of Kunigami, said she hopes that “the mayor will be re-elected and a new base will not be built so the sit-in protest will not reach the next 5,000th day.”

Citizens started the sit-in protest on April 19, 2004, on the coast close to the planned Futenma relocation site, opposing a related geological survey off Henoko by a central government agency. In July 2014, they also began protesting in front of the Camp Schwab gate.