In order to prevent the COVID-19 contagion, All Okinawa Coalition has suspended all their official protest actions since August 4. However, people are steadily coming to raise their voices individually in front of the Camp Schwab Gate. In the extreme heat, every day nearly 30 people kept protesting to delay the landfill for any length of time either in front of the Camp Schwab Gate, or at Awa, or Shiokawa. In previous yeas, the construction was stopped for almost a week during Obon (the time to show respect for ancestral souls). But this year, there was no sign of such a break at all.
More than 1,700 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Okinawa prefecure. In terms of the per population incidence, Okinawa is the worst, having surpassed Tokyo. The COVID-19 cases on the U.S. military bases in Okinawa have kept increasing. So far, the Okinawa Prefectural Office has confirmed 320 infected cases. However, the U.S. military service personnel entering into Okinawa from overseas without testing for COVID-19 remians as the threat, but military training does not stop. The U.S. military vehicles are running across the Island of Okinawa as if training matters more than Okinawans’ lives.
The “Go-to-Travel” campaign for which the Japanese government subsidies to encourage domestic travels to boost the economy, contributed to the big surge of infection in Okinawa. The extreme heat also affects people’s health. All Okinawa Coalition demanded the Okinawa Defense Bureau that the Camp Schwab should be locked and that the construction of the new base should be suspended.
(In front of the Camp Schwab Gate)
Even on oppressive summer days, approximately 10 people showed up to resume the sit-in protest day after day. Although the number of trucks bringing in construction materials has been decreased slightly, approximately 200 vehicles come every day. The highest temperature of the day was 35 degrees centigrade in front of the Camp Schwab Gate. We patiently kept sitting in the heat for almost one hour to delay the delivery.
(Ryukyu Cement Awa Pier)
Twelve people, including the members of Shimagurumi (Island-Wide Conference) Uruma-city chapter, kept protesting both at the pier’s entrance and exit. Five vehicles of GoGo Drive team ran around the national highway to slow down and delay the dump trucks which had finished the delivery. Three cargo ships, having been loaded with 804 truckloads of earth and sand, left for Henoko. The work at the pier now continues until 8 pm every day.
On August 10, the trees lining the road were cut down for approximately 20 meters around the exit. The police and Ryukyu Cement Co. had requested the civil engineering office of the Okinawa Prefecural Government to hew down, claiming that “it would give better visibility to the dump truck drivers who would come out to the street.” The office accepted the request and cut down the trees. Was this a good enough reason to kill the trees? Nearly a dozen guards and police officers have been deployed at the exit to help drivers to navigate. Aren’t they doing their job?
They don’t mind cutting down the street trees to speed up the construction, revealing their true nature. People raised their voices in protest. We called the civil engineering office for protest right away.
(Motobu Shiokawa Pier)
Nearly 10 people showed up and kept protesting. There are very few shaded spaces where people could avoid the sun. Taking a turn to let some people rest under the precious tree shades, people continued the protest against dump trucks. A total of 508 truckloads of earth and sand was loaded to 4 cargo ships. Recently, the number of truckloads has surpassed 500 every 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.