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Hundreds protest US base construction in Japan, year after woman killed by US marine

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Tokyo to pay tribute to the memory of a young Japanese woman killed by a US marine a year ago and to protest the relocation of the US base in Okinawa. A separate rally was held in Okinawa prefecture.

The demonstrators in Tokyo marched through the streets holding banners including ones reading, “No base in Okinawa!” The father of the murdered woman also issued a message calling for the removal of the US military bases from the island prefecture, local media report.

“Those incidents occur because Okinawa hosts US military bases. I want the bases to be removed without further delay, which is the wish of many Okinawa residents as well,” the man said in his statement.

“I have nothing to say to the defendant. We, the bereaved family, can never forgive him. We tolerate or trust no excuses from him,” he added. At the same time, he expressed his gratitude to all those people who expressed their support and sympathy to his family.

“Our sorrow for losing our daughter will never disappear, but our hearts will always be with her and we will continue to pray for the repose of her soul,” he said.

On April 28, 2016, the 20-year-old woman, Rina Shimabukuro, was raped and murdered by a 32-year-old civil contractor and former US Marine Kenneth Franklin Gadson, who goes by his Japanese wife’s family name of Shinzato. He admitted that he had strangled and stabbed his victim.

The incident provoked a wave of outrage in Japan. In June 2016, at least 50,000 people protested against heavy US military presence in Okinawa following the murder. Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga and some officials from opposition parties also took part in the rally at the time.

Facing public outcry, the US military has introduced curfews, movement restrictions and an alcohol ban off base, lifted 11 days after it was imposed.

In the meantime, another rally was held in the Henoko district of the city of Nago located in the Okinawa prefecture. Some 3,000 people took part in that demonstration, according to the local media.

The protesters, who came to express their discontent with the relocation of the US Futenma air base to the Henoko district, also began their rally with a minute of silence in the memory of the murdered woman.

The protesters gathered in front of Camp Schwab, the US military base located in Henoko. The demonstration was attended by the Nago city mayor.

In the meantime, the construction of the new US military base in Henoko took another step forward despite strong opposition from local residents. On April 25, cranes started dropping nets containing crushed rock along the shore north of Camp Schwab.

The rocks will likely serve as the foundation of a seawall built along the outer perimeter of the planned runway site, according to The Asahi Shimbun newspaper. Full-fledged landfill work inside the sea walls is set to take place in the first half of next year.

Katsuhiro Yoshida, a senior Okinawa prefectural official, who particularly deals with issues concerning the US bases in the area, said that the move “ignored the local will” and is “authoritarian,” adding that the local residents simply cannot accept it.

Okinawa hosts about 75 percent of all US military installations in Japan, and is an important geopolitical outpost for Washington allowing to project power in the region that neighbors China and Southeast Asia.

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U.S. Military Disgrace: 1,200 Hero Hounds Slaughtered After Serving In Combat Zones Because They’re ‘Deemed Too Dangerous’

More than 1,200 military dogs that have protected U.S. troops in Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries have been killed by the U.S. government.

The hero hounds were euthanized after they were retired from service because they were deemed “too dangerous” for civilian adoption or jobs with law enforcement, according to U.S. Air Force reports given to Congress.

Army Specialist Luke Andrukitis is a military dog handler who has benefitted from this legislation. Andrukitis found his bomb-sniffing Belgian Malinois that not only saved his life but also the lives of many others in Afghanistan during Andrukitis’ nine-month deployment in 2013.

He was so upset by the euthanasia that he was moved to save the life of the dog that saved his own life. “(The euthanasia) is absolutely horrible!” he said. “They served their country just like we did.”

The military maintains a force of about 2,500 dogs worldwide, but 1,000 of them are stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Most of them are declared unsuitable for adoption because of their “repeated unprovoked aggressive action”.

US Marines in Okinawa Perform Ridiculous Dance from Japanese Drama

The situation with US military bases in Okinawa continues to heat up. Recently new protests erupted following the refusal of the national government to relocate Futenma base and the handing back of 10,000 acres of US training grounds to Japan in exchange for the construction of six helipads nearby.

Okinawa’s Governor Takeshi Onaga seems to have lost patience with Tokyo officials after Japan’s Supreme Court dealt a significant a blow to the islanders’ efforts to rid themselves of US bases altogether by ruling in favor of the central government in its bid to relocate Futenma within the island.

Now Onaga plans to pay an official visit to the USA to explain to the Donald Trump administration the position of the prefecture’s residents, who have been protesting against the presence of the US bases for as long as they have been on the island.

However, bold and bouncy American soldiers always know what to do in difficult situations. They shot a video showing a number of Marines performing a brief version of the Koi Dance (koi being the Japanese word for “love”), the ending credit sequence for the phenomenally popular TV drama Nigehaji or We Married as a Job.

The footage was uploaded to the official Japanese-language Twitter account of the US Marine Corps on January 27 and got more than 14,000 reposts and over 18,000 likes by the time writing.

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