Higashi mayor urges peace marchers to keep “speaking out” against military flights over residential areas
November 12, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo
On November 11, at an interview held at the Highashi Village Office with participants in the Okinawa Peace March including Takao Takeda of the Buddhist sect Nipponzan Myohoji, 68, Mayor Masanobu Toyama of Higashi Village said, “I want us to continue speaking out against U.S. military aircraft flights in the airspace over residential areas.” Mayor Toyama touched on the accident in a field in Takae where a U.S. military helicopter made an emergency landing and burst into flames and referred to the necessity of revising the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement (U.S.-Japan SOFA), saying “It was an instance in which a small mistake led to residents being wrapped up [in a military incident]. As long as the U.S.-Japan SOFA is not revised, these same sorts of problems will occur, and we must demand [preventative measures against recurrence] of these sorts of problems.”
A Buddhist monk who resides in Ginoza Village and participated in the interview, Yuichi Kamoshita, 37, had this to say: “Aside from the Okinawa Peace March, I also marched in the United States in 2014, met with a member of the House of Representatives, and sent a letter to President Obama. I want to continue to take action in order to resolve military base issues.”
This year’s Okinawa Peace March started in Naha City on November 10. On November 11 participants marched in the vicinity of the U.S, military’s Northern Training Area and called for the removal of military bases.
The plan for November 12 included requesting a halt to construction of the Futenma Replacement Facility in Henoko, and marching in Awa, Nago City, at a site from which soil is being hauled to use in said construction, among other locations.
(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)