The human rights group Amnesty International has condemned the continued detention of an activist who was arrested for protesting the construction of a US military facility in Okinawa Prefecture.
Hiroji Yamashiro, the chairman of the Okinawa Peace Action Center, was arrested last October for allegedly cutting a wire fence around a helipad construction site in a US military training area in the prefecture.
Yamashiro was later arrested again for assaulting a local defense official.
The Amnesty International statement protests what it calls the deprivation of Yamashiro’s physical liberty.
It expresses concern that the detention is part of the Japanese government’s suppression of the anti-base movement, and says the arrest has had a chilling effect on other protesters.
Yamashiro’s lawyer says the defendant has denied all charges except for damaging property.
The lawyer has asked more than 10 times for a meeting and Yamashiro’s release, but the requests have been turned down by a local court.