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Awamori introduced into Nago anti-heliport demonstrations

Date Posted: 2005-12-08

Plans call for a new US Marine Corps airfield to be built at Camp Schwab, alongside Nago City’s Ouura Bay.

Awamori production companies are taking their own steps to block that move, lowering bottles of their Okinawa brew deep into the bay as a symbolic action. Takuma Higashionna, who represents the 50 awamori producers and private citizens, says the group has put bottles of awamori 30 meters deep into the bay inside boxes. Awamori ages beneath the water, becoming more smooth because water temperatures remain consistent and the clarity remains steady.

“This spot is the agreed upon point by both the Japan and American governments for building the heliport,” says Higashionna, “but we’re against them.” The group is calling for withdrawal of the agreement, and a decision to abolish all plans for a new airfield. He says it’s an environmental move that will encourage the endangered dudongs –similar to American manatees—to return to the Bay.

“When that happens,” says Higashionna, “we’ll take these bottles and make a celebration, a big party!” The only question now in Higashionna’s mind is whether their move will succeed, or whether construction will soon begin on the military airport to replace the controversial Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in Ginowan.

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