Fifty years have passed since the Koza riot, an explosion of accumulated frustration of Okinawans. What did the riot mean? Many organizations are holding photo exhibitions and symposiums, asking Okinawans what the riot meant.
An incident occurred in the early hours of Dec 20, 1970. An Okinawan got hit by a vehicle driven by a U.S. serviceman and was slightly wounded. The U.S. MPs started the accident handling, but more and more residents came to the site, showing distrust, getting uproarious. There was a good reason for that. Three months before the incident, a U.S. soldier drove under the influence of alcohol and killed an Okinawan female. On Dec 7, a court-martial under the U.S. regime handed down a decision of “not guilty” to the U.S. soldier due to insufficient evidence. Many Okinawans got angry about the ruling and held a prefecture-wide protest rally on Dec 16.
“Again!” — Repeated accidents by the U.S. soldiers unleashed the accumulated anger of the citizens. People got excited in Koza city, and MPs fired warning shots at the protesters, which triggered a riot. Hundreds of residents gathered together, overturned the U.S. military vehicles one by one, and set fire to them.
The overturned cars were 82, exclusively driven by the U.S. soldiers, and moved the cars to the center of the road so that the fire would not spread to the resident houses. No plundering occurred. Okinawans’ anger focused on the U.S. soldiers who committed crimes as they liked and the U.S. military administration that unfairly protected those soldiers.
The U.S. soldiers having an incident or accident are still treated leniently fifty years after the riot. The Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement protects the U.S. forces “as if Okinawa were a U.S. colony.” The anger of Okinawans against the illogical, unfair Agreement accumulates day by day even now.
A rally was held at noon in front of the prefectural office in Naha to support Governor Tamaki. All Okinawa Kaigi (All Okinawa Coalition) organized the rally to disapprove of construction design changes submitted by the Okinawa Defence Bureau. Nearly 250 citizens, including three Diet members and All Okinawa Coalition members serving on the prefectural assembly, came to the gathering.
Susumu Inamine, a former Mayor of Nago City, and Tsuyoshi Kitaueda, a civil engineering advisor, severely criticized the current Mayor of Nago City, Toguchi. He ignored Nago citizens’ opinion statements and approved the landfill with only a three-line recommendation to the Prefectural government.
The Diet members reported that most of 17,857 opinion statements demanded disapproval of the construction design changes. In particular, all 579 statements submitted by Nago citizens denied approval. The protesters strongly appealed to Governor Denny Tamaki to disapprove of the design change request and handed him the written appeal statement.
(In front of Camp Schwab Gate)
Only 15 protestors resumed the sit-in rally in front of the Gate because of the gathering held before the Prefectural Office in Naha. Someone will always come to the sit-in rally in front of the Gate, although a big rally opposing the new base construction is held elsewhere. Today is the 2,357th day after the start of the protest.
Two hundred twelve vehicles delivered the material.
(Ryukyu Cement Awa Pier)
About 20 members of the Okinawa Heiwa Shimin Rennraku-kai (Okinawa Peace Forum) continued the protest, attending both the pier’s entrance and exit. In contrast to the previous day, only about five riot police officers were there. The protestors chanted with a placard, “Stop an illegal construction,” “Dump trucks should go back with soil and sand,” etc.
Three carriers were loaded with 835 truckloads of soil and sand.
(Motobu Shiokawa Pier)
Only five members of the Motobu-Shimagurumi group (Motobu chapter of the Island-Wide Conference) staged a protest rally.
Five barges were loaded with 669 truckloads of earth and sand.
About sixty citizens came to the “Thursday Intensive Action” yesterday and successfully delayed the dump truck run. The following video shows how yesterday’s rally went.
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