Renowned novelist arrested protesting off Henoko
A novelist and winner of the prestigious Akutagawa literary prize Shun Medoruma, was arrested Friday in Henoko, after he paddled his canoe into the restricted area off the coast of Camp Schwab. He was released later on the same day after the Japan Coast Guard handed him over to the prosecutor’s office.
The Nakagusuku Office of the Japan Coast Guard arrested Medoruma for entering inside the off-limits area. The U.S. military personnel initially held him and handed him over to the coast guard office, which arrested him on suspicion of violating a criminal law clause under SOFA. The author was protesting with a group of other people the plan to construct a relocation facility for MCAS Futenma off Camp Schwab.
The author was detained after he refused to leave the area even though he was told several times by the Military Police that he was trespassing and must leave.
According to local eyewitnesses, Medoruma, who was the only person detained, was trying to prevent other demonstrators who were also in canoes, from being arrested. Medoruma has reportedly been very active in demonstrations against the relocation and construction plan. He is a resident of Nakijin, a village north of Nago.