August 12, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo
(Ginowan) August 13 marks 15 years since the day a U.S. military helicopter crashed over Okinawa International University, and on August 11, in advance of the date, Shimagurumi Kaigi Ginowan and the Futenma Noise Lawsuit Group held a protest outside Ginowan City Hall.
Around 150 people from Ginowan and elsewhere gathered to protest. Carrying banners and placards, they called for prompt closure of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
“The Osprey have been deployed, and Futenma now is even worse than it was then.
Futenma should be returned to make way for Okinawa’s development,” said upper house member Yoichi Iha, who was mayor of Ginowan at the time of the crash.
“Fifteen years on, nothing has changed. We must raise our voices and act at the same time,” said Zenji Shimada, leader of the lawsuit group.
Seikoh Saito, 38, Okinawa International University College of Economics and Environmental Policy associate professor and Ginowan resident, attended the protest.
“As someone from mainland Japan, I feel responsible for the Japanese government’s refusal to change its stance,” said Professor Saito, who hails from Gifu Prefecture.
(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)