High fences with “Keep out” signs make it clear that these areas are off limits to Okinawans.
The huge April rally was held. The Okinawan prefectural assembly unanimously backed a letter demanding the removal of the base off the island. Seventeen thousand people formed a human chain around Futenma.
But – after intense US pressure – Mr Hatoyama back-tracked. In May he said he had been unable to find an alternative site for the base. His “heart-breaking conclusion” therefore, was that the relocation should go ahead as planned. Then he stepped down.
Naoya Iju, of the prefectural government, says that many people think that Okinawans are being treated as second-class citizens.
In April, 90,000 residents gathered to protest, in the biggest show of opposition for 15 years. This is an interesting read on the effects of America’s permanent bases in Japan. We were hearing about this last year from multiple sources and in the news. This article brings up the very touchy issue that many Okinawans feel like the Japanese government’s scapegoat. That their voices have been ignored for centuries and that they alone bear the burden of housing the foreign base.