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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 June 21 - 27  > Sit-in protest against construction of US Osprey helipads in Takae marks 10th anniversary
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2017 June 21 - 27 [POLITICS]

Sit-in protest against construction of US Osprey helipads in Takae marks 10th anniversary

June 26, 2017
On June 25 in the Takae district of Okinawa’s Higashi Village, a rally commemorating the tenth anniversary of the sit-in protest took place, and residents renewed their determination to force a halt to the U.S. Osprey helipads construction.

At the rally, poet Arthur Binard delivered a speech. Japanese Communist Party Lower House member Akamine Seiken and Okinawa Whirlwind (a political group in the Upper House) lawmaker Iha Yoichi also took part in the rally.

Participants resolved, “We will continue our protest to prevent the U.S. military Ospreys from using the completed helipads and flying over the richly diverse forests of northern Okinawa.” They also confirmed to strengthen their monitoring activity to not allow the construction work to proceed.

Ashimine Gentatsu of an anti-helipad residents’ group said, “Our struggle launched by only a few residents in Takae is now supported by a large number of citizens across Japan,” and “We will keep on conducting sit-in protests which were begun in 2007.”

Toyama Masanobu, co-representative of another residents’ group, said, “Our hope of living in peace is completely dashed by the construction of U.S. military Osprey helipads. Let us make the U.S. forces close the Northern Training Area in Takae.”

Kitaueda Tsuyoshi of an Okinawa peace organization revealed that the construction cost for the Osprey helipads has increased 15-fold from 600 million yen to 9.4 billion yen. He went on to say, “Repair works will continue from now. We should fight against the Abe government wasting the taxpayers’ precious money on the construction and maintenance of U.S. military facilities that will destroy the rich natural environment and residents’ livelihoods in Takae.”

Nakamura Tsukasa of the Okinawa United Action Liaison Council called on the rally participants to make use of the 10-year-long struggle to achieve the removal of the Osprey helipads.
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