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Chibana Flea Market being closed down

Date Posted: 2004-11-26

Vendors are locking horns with Okinawa City officials over a final decision to close the Chibana flea market that is their livelihood.

City officials met with vendors yesterday, asking them “not to open the flea market shops at Chibana anymore.” The vendors were told of a 1,000 meters long fence that will be constructed to block the entire area now used by some 300 vendors each weekend.

The vendors are protesting the decision, which officials say resulted in part from last year’s bomb scandal when a Japanese Ground Self Defense Force sergeant was selling munitions at the flea market. The independent business folks are asking for reconsideration. “Please don’t take our life.” Okinawa City officials say the fence is coming, and that they’ve already got 600 meters of the length ready to go along Route 38.

Eviction orders have been in place for some time, but vendors and customers alike ignore the posted ban. The order was issued by the Naha City Self Defense Facility Bureau. Route 38 is maintained jointly by Okinawa City and the U.S. military.

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