To commemorate the 42nd year since the island of Okinawa was returned to Japan by the United States after World War II, anti-war activists are doing their annual 3-day protest action starting Friday morning at different US and Japanese military installations. This year’s protest is in light of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s televised declaration calling to revise the Pacifist constitution to allow Japan to have collective self-defense.
Called Peace Action 2014, this year’s protest action is expected to bring in around 3,000 participants, according to organizers. The starting point for the rally is the site of the controversial runway expansion project in Henko, which is part of the plan to support air operations for when Marine Corps Air Station Futenma will be moved to Camp Schwab. The drilling surveys are expected to start by next month and actual construction will begin later this year. The protest route will also include several stops at US bases, Self-Defense Force installations, the Okinawa City Hall, and other sites that played a role in Japan’s imperial past. All participants will culminate at Futenma on Sunday, with a rally at the Ginowan Beachside Park.
According to Satoru Oshiro, organizer and member of the Okinawa Peace Activity Center, Japan is starting to become once again “a country that can wage war,”, citing the fortification of military bases and the rebuilding of the Self-Defense Force base in Yonaguni island. “We must stop this current at all costs,” he said, while also criticizing the central government for not listening to the voice of Okinawans. US Marine officials on the island said they are only on standby, giving way to local police and central government personnel who are tasked to “ensure public safety.”
[ via Stars and Stripes ]
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