Okinawa Rally Could Draw 100,000 People


David Allen
Stars and Stripes
April 23, 2010

The U.S. military on Okinawa is advising Department of Defense personnel and their families to stay away from the village of Yomitan on Sunday, where a large anti-base rally is scheduled.

Organizers said Wednesday they expect 100,000 people to gather at the village sports complex for the 3 p.m. event. Among featured speakers will be elected officials and union leaders.

If the size of the crowd turns out to be as big as predicted, it will be the largest anti-base event on Okinawa since 58,000 people gathered in Ginowan in October 1995 to protest the abduction and gang rape of a 12-year-old schoolgirl by two Marines and a sailor.

To read the full story in  Stars and Stripes, click here.

Futenma Base Protest

Photo: KYODO Photo - Japan Times

Raising their voices: Around 21,000 people join in protest against the planned relocation of a U.S. military airfield within Okinawa Prefecture in Ginowan in the prefecture on Nov. 8, 2009, ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Japan.

To read the full story at The Japan Times, click here.


Locals Protest Futenma Transfer Within Okinawa


Japan Today
November 9, 2009

Around 21,000 people protested against the planned relocation of a U.S. military airfield within Okinawa Prefecture on Sunday ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Japan, in a sign of growing local frustration over the new Japanese government’s vague stance in reviewing the transfer plan.

The protesters called for the immediate closure of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station located in a downtown residential area of Ginowan and urged Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to reject the transfer of the facility to a coastal zone in Nago, northern Okinawa, in his talks with Obama slated for Friday in Tokyo.
Demonstrators braved the heat to pack into an open-air theater in a seaside park in Ginowan, central Okinawa, and adopted a resolution stating, ‘‘The small island of Okinawa doesn’t need a base any more. We oppose the construction of a new facility in the Henoko (district of Nago) and (Futenma’s) relocation within Okinawa.”

To read the full story at Japan Today, click here.


Thousands Protest at Japanese U.S. Air Base


Isabel Reynolds, Reuters
The Independent
November 9, 2009

Thousands of Japanese gathered in sweltering heat on the southern island of Okinawa yesterday to demand that a US Marine base be moved out of the region, days ahead of a visit by US President Barack Obama.

The row over the re-siting of the Futenma air base threatens to stall a realignment of the 47,000 US military personnel in Japan and sour defence ties between the two countries, seen as key in a region home to a rising China and an unpredictable North Korea.

To read the full story in The Independent, click here.

Futenma Base Protest  ~ November 8, 2009


Over 20,000 people took part in a rally in Ginowan City, Okinawa on Sunday to protest the continued presence of the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station. The protest was held in anticipation of the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama who will be visiting the region later this the week. 

Futenma Base Protest 11/08/09

Photo: Akifumi Matsuzaki

The U.S. Military has maintained an air base at Futenma since 1945. MCAS Futenma is home to approximately 4,000 soldiers.

Futenma Base Protest 11/08/09

Photo: Akifuma Matsuzaki

A sampling of news reports about the protest and the upcoming visit of President Obama:

Thousands of Japanese Protest U.S. Base Plan, Reuters, November 8, 2009

Japanese Protest Against US Military Base, Press TV, November 8, 2009

Japanese Town Stages Anti-US Base Protest, Channel News Asia, November 8, 2009

U.S. “Fully Committed” to Japan as Feud Simmers, The New York Times, November 5, 2009