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Protesters, weather stop DFAB geological surveys at Henoko

Date Posted: 2004-04-22

Geological surveys at Nago City’s Henoko area, the site of a proposed replacement for Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in Ginowan, have ground to a halt.

Strong winds forced geologists and other scientists to stop work, but intense lobbying by protesters forced other actions to stop too.

A project was under way to build fences within the Henoko Fishing Port, but opponents challenged it. The Naha Defense Facilities Administrative Bureau finally called a halt to the project.

Tensions had run high as DFAB personnel struggled with 20 truckloads of materials brought in for the project. Security was requested and provided by plain clothes Okinawa Prefectural Police, who encountered over 120 protesters who called themselves members of a citizens group.

“Just give us the time to discuss this with us”, they asked. “We want to keep a clean ocean and give dugongs a chance to survive.”

The DFAB response was simple: “Today’s bad weather stops us from investigating the oceanside, but we do investigate the land side and we have to start doing things.” The Self Defense side said it must do the work, but backed down when the protesters pressed.

The opposition, when night came, said “we will never give up the fight with them. Never. Even if we die.”

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