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Stolen protest banner resurfaces; Ishigaki demands an investigation

Date Posted: 2009-04-16

A protest banner draped on a fence at Ishigaki Port at the arrival of two U.S. Navy ships for a port call earlier this month has been returned to Ishigaki Police after being stolen.

The banner declaring ‘No Warships’ was stolen from the fence on the first day of the ships visit, and witnesses had then told police they saw Americans ripping it down. The banner was believed returned to Ishigaki Police by the captain of one of the U.S. Navy vessels, either the USS Patriot or USS Guardian.

“The banner was broken, and I feel like my heart has broken the same way,” says Tadae Oshima, representative of the ladies group that produced the flag. The 64-year-old Oshima is angry police did nothing immediately after the banner was ripped down. Surveillance video is reported to have captured the theft on tape. People who saw the video say it showed to American looking guys go to the banner, climb the wire fence, and take the banner.

Ishigaki Police confirm they have the banner, valued at ¥5,000, and that the incident “is still under investigation.”

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