Monday, March 29, 2010

"Loss of the sea would mean death to Okinawa" -- Uruma residents rally against proposed U.S. military base in their prefecture

Uruma residents raise their fists during a rally Thursday night against the relocation of U.S. Air Station Futenma to an offshore area of the city. (Photo: Mainichi)

The Mainichi reported that residents of Uruma rallied last Thursday against the Japanese government's proposal to build a U.S. milittary base on an artificial island on their beach:
Residents of this Okinawa Prefecture city have held a rally to express their opposition to a government plan to relocate U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to an offshore area of the city.

More than 500 people attended the rally held at a hall in Uruma on Thursday night. The gathering was organized by a liaison council of citizens opposing the relocation that was formed by former prefectural assembly members and others...

Mitsue Tomiyama, co-leader of the council, expressed anger at the relocation plan. "How far will the government ridicule local residents?"

The rally attendees adopted a resolution stating that "we are protesting to the government for ridiculing Okinawa. The loss of the sea would lead to the death of Okinawa." They then demanded that the government withdraw the plan to relocate Futenma to an offshore area of the White Beach district of Uruma, and close down Futenma base.

On March 19, the Uruma Municipal Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution opposing the plan while Mayor Toshio Shimabukuro has also voiced opposition to the plan.

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