Okinawa residents renew their opposition to Osprey

Residents in Okinawa on Monday renewed their opposition to the planned deployment of the U.S. military’s MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft at the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station, gathering for a rally on the campus of Okinawa International University.

Tamotsu Oshiro, president of Okinawa International University, said, “We have demanded the closure of Futenma and the return of its site, but the danger is increasing with the planned Osprey deployment.” Oshiro made the remark at a gathering to call for flights by U.S. military aircraft to be stopped and the return of the Futenma site. The event was held on the eighth anniversary of the crash of a helicopter belonging to the base at the university premises in the city of Ginowan on Aug. 13, 2004. Ginowan hosts the Futenma base.

Some 120 people, including students and teachers at the university, and local residents, participated in the rally. Yukino Higa, a 22-year-old student at the university, said that the lives of Okinawa people are threatened by danger and violence stemming from the base. “We have to send a message from the accident-hit university as we are exposed to danger every day,” she added.

A 41-year-old housewife from the city of Uruma, Okinawa, took part in the gathering with her four children, aged between 5 and 15. She said that her children have grown up in an environment where U.S. bases always exist. But she added, “I want my children to know negative aspects from the U.S. military presence in Okinawa.”

A community anti-Osprey rally is being organized for September 9th. In Ginowan Kaihin Park in lieu of the rally planned for Aug. 5 that was canceled because of the approaching typhoon Haikui.