17,000 Japanese Circle U.S. Marine Base in Peaceful Protest (Update)


Jay Alabaster
The China Post (AP)
May 17, 2010

Thousands of Japanese linked hands and encircled a Marine Corps base in Okinawa on Sunday to protest its presence on the island, putting more pressure on Tokyo to resolve an impasse over the base’s future.

About 17,000 residents surrounded the Futenma air base early in the afternoon, chanting slogans and completing a human chain twice for several minutes each time, city official Hitoshi Nakou said. The base covers about 1.9 square miles (4.92 square kilometers), and sits in the middle of Ginowan, a city of about 93,000.

To read the updated story at the China Post, click here.

Demonstrators form a human chain around Futenma air station in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture on Sunday, May 16. KYODO PHOTO

U.S. Air Base Surrounded by Human Chain of Protesters 

The Japan Times (Kyodo, AP)
May 16, 2010

About 17,000 people formed a human chain around Futenma air station in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, on Sunday, calling for the return of the land used by the U.S. Marine Corps facility and protesting plans to move its operations elsewhere in the prefecture.

Ginowan Mayor Yoichi Iha and Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine were among those braving strong winds and rain for the demonstration and read out a joint statement calling on the central government to give up on its plans to move it to the Henoko district in Nago.

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


Additional information on this story can be found at the links below:

AFP Photo

Okinawa Residents Protest at US Air Base   AFP,  May 16, 2010

Japan Reluctant to Antagonize US Over Air Base  Press TV, May 16, 2010

Official: Japan Nearing Decision on Futenma Site


David Allen
Stars and Stripes
April 25, 2010

Japan’s government may take one step closer during the weekend to choosing an alternate site for relocating Marine air units now on Okinawa.

The proposed relocation site for Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan will be announced to the government’s ministers and leaders of the three-party ruling majority by Sunday, according to Mikio Shimoji, a member of Japan’s Diet from Okinawa who met Thursday with Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano.

Hirano said the government will call for a meeting of ministers by Sunday, Shimoji said on his blog late Thursday.

To read the full story at 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.