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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 April 19 - 25  > Citizens’ rally held in Tokyo in solidarity with Okinawans’ anti-US base struggles
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2017 April 19 - 25 [POLITICS]

Citizens’ rally held in Tokyo in solidarity with Okinawans’ anti-US base struggles

April 20, 2017
As the Abe government aims to start the reclamation work to build a U.S. base in Okinawa’s Henoko district, more than 3,500 people on April 19 rallied in Tokyo, demonstrating their solidarity with local residents in Okinawa who are fighting to block the base construction.

At the rally held at Hibiya Amphitheater, Yamashiro Hiroji, the leader of a prefecture-wide anti-base group in Okinawa, said, “All your actions are encouraging Okinawans. Let’s keep advancing the movement by strengthening solidarity nationwide.” Yamashiro was unjustly arrested last October and released on bail in March.

The representatives of four opposition parties and an Upper House opposition group delivered speeches in solidarity. Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira condemned the Abe administration for attempting to launch the landfill work in Henoko without obtaining permission from the Okinawa prefectural government. He said, “The opposition party alliance originated in Okinawa. Let’s bring down the Abe Cabinet by building up the alliance between opposition parties and concerned citizens.”

Koike also denounced Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Furuya Keiji for claiming that the joint opposition candidate in the mayoral election of Uruma City in Okinawa is a “cheater”. The election to be held on April 23 has become a one-on-one fight between the LDP-backed incumbent and his rival supported by opposition forces and the All-Okinawa Council, a local civic organization opposing the U.S. base construction.

A 63-year-old participant, Matsumoto Toshiko, living in Tokyo’s western city of Chofu, became a grandmother two months ago. “I’ll continue to take action to help create a bright future for younger generations,” she said.

* * *

JCP Diet Policy Commission Chair Kokuta Keiji on April 19 held a news conference in the Diet building and strongly criticized LDP legislator Furuya for making insulting remarks.

On April 16, the chief of the LDP campaign headquarters posted on his Facebook page a comment slandering Yamauchi Sueko who is running in the Uruma City mayoral election as a candidate representing the all-Okinawa movements against U.S. bases. Furuya said in his comment that Yamauchi pledges to provide free lunches at elementary and junior high schools without indicating the financial resources which can be used to do so and that making such an empty promise is tantamount to “cheating” local citizens. “This is Okinawans’ usual practice,” he added.

JCP Kokuta said that Furuya’s statement is inexcusable as it makes fools of Okinawans. He pointed out that the opposition candidate proposes to use the city’s financial adjustment fund of 14 billion yen to carry out her campaign promise.

Past related article:
> Shii: I’ll make efforts for Henoko base issue to be common challenge of 4 opposition parties [March 6, 2017]
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