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Preparation work begins for shifting U.S. base in north

Date Posted: 2010-02-25

The Japanese Self Defense Force has initiated construction work as the first step toward transferring the American training base in northern Okinawa to Takae in Higashi Village, despite opposition from local residents.

The initial steps in the JSDF Okinawa Branch project to build a fence around the entry road was blocked by local residents who opposed the project last week. Others turned to the JSDF offices to stage their protests. “Please explain about this plan in more detail,” they asked, “and let’s talk about this construction. Do we need this?” Demonstrators say the only response they got from the Self Defense Force staff was “Please let us do our work.” Protesters didn’t let them, so JSDF staffers began taking video of the local residents and peace groups.

Taped to the camera was the message “If you don’t want to be on the video, please get away from the camera.” A local resident, Takeo Nakamine, says “we didn’t get any information for today’s construction work on making the helicopter port, so we need to have more sessions to discuss this in more detail.”

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