Despite intense crackdowns, activists on the Japanese island of Okinawa continue to resist the construction of new US Military Bases. They come in kayaks and canoes to protect the bay, maintain a tent city on the beach, and hold candlelight vigils. From posters to marches, songs, and a petition expressing international solidarity, Okinawan residents have left no question about their fierce opposition to construction of a new military base for the U.S. Marines on their island.

Overriding these emphatic voices, the Japanese and United States governments have begun work on a new facility at site of Henoko—initiating offshore drilling, tearing down buildings, and bringing in construction supplies. The building of this base has broad ramifications: it will destroy local marine life, pollute natural resources, and put residents in danger. Even more disturbingly, it reflects the long-term violation of Okinawans’ democratic rights—namely, their ability to set the policies that affect their lives.

Nonetheless, despite intense crackdowns to suppress resistance, Okinawan activists remain determined to continue their opposition to this base. One of them is “Henoko Blue” civilian canoe team which has aim to protect beautiful Sea of Oura Bay, Henoko, Okinawa from the plans to build a new U.S. military base there.

On the 18th of February, two big crane ships continued boring concrete blocks into the sea. Members of “Henoko Blue” canoe team have tried to show them their relation to this by means of banners and posters.

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Japanese Coast Guard defending base construction

“Henoko Blue” members also tried to set up a banner on floating fence.

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A banner put by ‘Henoko Blue’

So this is how local civilians try to bring their words and feelings to the world. They can do it only by means of peaceful protests. All the surrounding nature they had grown up with is being destroyed for military purposes. Will the world answer their call?

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