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Tension mounts as the Nov. 8th anti-Futenma rally approaches

Date Posted: 2009-11-05

A protest demonstration and rally against relocating Futenma Marine Corps Air Station to the Henoko area near Camp Schwab in northern Okinawa is becoming angrily vocal as the Sunday event nears.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly told the public “I know a lot of Okinawan people want to move Futenma outside of Okinawa, and I want to listen to the Okinawan people’s opinion.” Yukio Hatoyama says “I want to make a decision that includes everybody,” but his own senior ministers don’t see eye to eye with him. His Foreign Minister, Katsuya Okada, wants to combine Futenma with Kadena Air Base, saying “it is very convenient as there’s a runway already, and no need to use a lot of money.” Okada says “I want to investigate why the Americans are saying the idea is no good.” He’s promised to advise the Prime Minister the two bases should be combined if the results of his investigation support it.

Okinawa’s governor, Hirokazu Nakaima, disagrees. “To combine Kadena and Futenma will make very big problems,” he says, “because even now around Kadena citizens have too hard a life because of noise and many other reasons. To integrate another base onto the large Kadena Air Base is simply beyond limits.” Nakaima says he will not attend the November 8th mass rally, and will not even send a message to the mass meeting, telling the public the new government should unify its own opinion as to what they want.

The rally is scheduled to take place at Kaihin Park in Ginowan City, home of Futenma Marine Corps Air Station.

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