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Fishermen accuse sailors of pointing weapons at them

Date Posted: 2011-09-16

Members of the Katsuren Fishermen’s Association are levying accusations that sailors aboard a U.S. warship entering White Beach U.S. Naval Base pointed a weapon toward one of their fishing boats.

The fishing vessel was passing close by the warship when the incident occurred in waters off the coast of Uruma City. The fishing cooperative members say this isn’t the first time such an incident has happened, and say they’ve made repeated demands to the Okinawa Defense Bureau to tell the U.S. Navy to make the intimidating actions stop. The Okinawa Defense Bureau says it has talked to the U.S. Navy about the matter, and expressed concerns.

Katsuren Fishermen’s Association leaders say the situation surrounding White Beach and the relationships with local fishermen has gotten worse since the terrorism events of September 11th 2001. When U.S. Navy warships are entering the port at White Beach, they say, patrol boats approach their fishing vessels and point guns at their member fishermen. “We want them to stop menacing us,” a member of the cooperative says.

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