Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:25 AM
unhappycamper (58,225 posts)
Things Haven't Been Going Well In Okinawa
Okinawans continue protest in Tokyo against US military presence
By Ida Torres / January 28, 2013
Okinawa citizens, led by their political leaders, staged a large anti-US military rally in Tokyo over the weekend to protest continued heavy military presence in their prefecture. The rally is said to be one of the largest involving mayors and politicians since 1972 when the US returned control of Okinawa to Japan.
Protesters accuse the rest of Japan in discriminating against Okinawa by forcing them to house more than half of the 47,000 US military personnel currently in the country. Recent criminal misbehaviour by the personnel, including the alleged rape of an Okinawan woman, has spurred the unrest among the citizens and has fueled their opposition of the continued military presence. Tokyo’s attempts to further the country’s military alliance with the U.S is also one of the reasons for the series of protests and rallies by citizens and their leaders.
Another recent controversy is the announcement from the U.S. government that they will be deploying more of the controversial MV-22 Osprey aircraft at the Kadena Air Force base in Okinawa by 2015. This is despite the continued protests of the residents over the safety issues of the aircraft, which were first deployed at the Marine Corps’ Futenma base in Ginowan. Some banners in the protest on Sunday said “Firmly against Osprey”.
The Okinawan leaders are hoping to meet with government ministers by Monday to discuss their concerns regarding these issues. “Our anger has been boiled to its peak,” Takeshi Onaga, mayor of Naha city, the capital of the prefecture, said at the rally.
Osprey hunt: Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga faces reporters Monday in Tokyo after handing in a petition against the deployment of MV-22s in Okinawa to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Okinawa leaders urge Abe to remove Osprey
About 30 municipal heads in Okinawa urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday to rescind the government’s approval of the MV-22 Osprey deployment at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
The chiefs, including Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga and Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine, handed the prime minister a petition against the odd-looking transport aircraft signed by the heads of all 41 municipalities in Okinawa. It also called on the government to drop the stalled bilateral plan to build an airstrip in Nago to replace the Futenma base.
Abe told the representatives at his office that his government will “comprehensively” consider ways to alleviate the concentration of bases in the prefecture with regard to the Japan-U.S. security alliance.
The meeting lasted only four minutes, with Abe making no specific comments on the Ospreys or the Futenma relocation plan.
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