He comes to Henoko twice a week while conducting the church service on other days of the week. Is it too frequent a “business trip” for a paster? Not only his church members accept the trips, but some seniors encourage him to go, “I strongly wish myself to go, but cannot. Please go on my behalf.”
The captain operating the protest-boat named “FUKUTSU” is Rev. Hajime Kanai (65 years old) of a church in Sashiki, Nanjo-city. His predecessor, Rev. Osamu Taira, was well-known as one of the earliest civil movement leaders against Henoko military base.
After being ordained as a pastor, Rev. Kanai has deeply engaged in peace education. Through the experience, he believed that it is crucial not only to pray but to act for peace. He took an offer to be a pastor at Sashiki Church in 2006 as soon as the position became available and relocated to Okinawa.
The FUKUTSU, a protest-boat, was purchased with the donation from the people all over Japan. Of the total donated amount of 7 million yen, 70% was from the church groups. Also, a small boat with a jet-engine was purchased last year with donations. He is in the front-line assisting the canoe team.
Rev. Kanai never uses violent language while protesting to the Japan Coast Guard and construction workers in Henoko. Politely, he talks to them about the absurdity of the new military base. When he uses gentle words, it may first sound like an idle appeal, but gradually his words seem to soak through into the listeners’ heart.
In one of his protest rallies sometime ago, his rubber-boat crushed with a fisherman’s vigilante boat that had a contract with ODB. Mr. N (the fisherman) jumped aboard, grabbed Rev. Kanai’s shirts, and shouted, “What the hell are you doing?” The protestors on the sea most feared him. At a later date, Mr. N again shouted at the paster at the pier, “What the hell are you doing?” But this time, he continued, “They are loading up the cargo ships!”.
Mr. N expressed his real feeling against the base construction. It was the moment of realization that Mr. N is on the side of the protesters. Mr. N and Rev. Kanai became friends on the sea. The protestors indeed trust Rev. Kanai, but some point out that “he drives the ships at very high speed!” The Reverend’s straightforward character comes through in such a way on the sea.
(In front of the Camp Schwab Gate)
Concerned over the spread of coronavirus contagion, All-Okinawa Coalition announced that it would suspend the protest rallies from Aug 3 until 18, the last day of the summer holidays. The number of infected people in the prefecture has increased rapidly in the past week to over 550. The number of the infected per 100,000 as of Jul 31 was 15.31, exceeding Tokyo (14.38). The spread of infection on the Islands of Okinawa is in a critical situation.
Still, the construction work continues. “Life or protest?”–It became a tough choice for All Okinawa Coalition. Protest on the sea was also canceled until the 18th. However, ten volunteers sat in front of the gate and continued to protest today. A total of 203 dump trucks carried the construction material into the base over three times.
(Ryukyu Cement Awa Pier)
About 20 protesters continued the demonstration all day at the entrance and the exit. Members of the “GoGo Drive” campaign also contributed, by driving slowly near the gates, to delay the dump trucks going in and coming out. The newly transferred police commander is more strict than the one before. The excessive road control by the police has evoked frequent quarrels among the protesters and the police.
The protest rally successfully confined trucks within the pier grounds, and significantly delayed loading work. The photo was taken from above Awa Pier by a drone. Every day, the work is continuing until around 8 p.m.
(Motobu Shiokawa Pier)
Eight members of Shimagurumi of Uruma-City came and joined the protest at Shiokawa Pier. A total of about 15 protested under the scorching sun.Two carriers were loaded simultaneously. The soil and sand from 429 dump trucks were loaded to 4 ships for the day.
Number of dump trucks to date and percentage against the total
The estimation calculated on the basis of the number of ruckloads serves only as a reference.
Number of dump trucks which made delivery from December 2018 to the end of December 2019 114,601(1.39%)
|Number of dump trucks
|Weightt of earth/sand
|Converted to volume
|Volume per Total
※ Cumulative since Dec. 1, 2019
※① Calculated by assuming that the average truckload per dump truck would be 5 tons
※② Calculated by assuming that a specific weight of soil/sand set to be 2
※③ Percentage against 20.200.000m3, the total volume of earth and sand required for the landfill.