Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture — Aichi-Okinawa Kaigi
We held a rally at Sakae, the central area in Nagoya.We demanded: No base Okinawa, No military spending!
Henoko, Nago City, Okinawa
In the afternoon of April 17, Henoko action was held in front of “Henoko Tent Village,” the site of an 8 year long sit-in protest against the construction of a new US military base, as well as in front of the “No-Base and Peace Gallery” or the fence that divides Henoko and Camp Schwab.
Henoko people displayed the big banner, which they had taken with them to Washington DC this January to deliver “Okinawa’s voices” against the presence of US bases in Okinawa. The other banners read “350 billion yen ($US 430 billion) for aiding disaster relief and rebuilding efforts in Tohoku, not for constructing a new US base in Henoko/Oura bay,” “Use money not for military forces but for our life and nature,” and “Sympathy Budget for Disaster Affected Areas and Protect the Dugong.”
Ms. Suzuyo Takazato of Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence and Mr. Hiroshi Ashitomi of Committee against Heliport Construction, gave a spirited peace talk.
Takae, Higashi Village, Okinawa
Takae people have been protesting against the construction of six new US helipads in peaceful and creative ways. For their GDAMS action, they showed their solidarity with the people of Jeju Island South Korea, who are also struggling against the construction of a Navy base on their island, known as the “Island of World Peace.” They displayed a banner which Korean peace activists had given to them in support of Okinawan people’s protest against US bases. Takae’s message is “Weapons will fail where only peaceful song and dance can succeed – Takae & Jeju unite!”
Futenma, Ginowan City, Okinawa
Futenma Action was held on April 17, organized by Plaintiffs Group for Futenma US Airbase Noise Pollution Lawsuit. They displayed banners in front of Nodake Gate of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called the “most dangerous U.S. base in the world.” During their action, two US helicopters with a thundering noise flew over their heads .
Okinawan people have been calling for theunconditional and immediate closure of MCAS Futenma, However, just recently, the US government has asked the Japanese government to pay 20 billion yen to repair the Futenma air base as the US government intended to use it for the foreseeable future. The banner which read “Futenma Repair Fee 20 Billion for Fukushima” showed Futenma people’s determination to fight the US request and call for a justified world.
Also noticeable were banners reading “No base on Okinawa and Jeju” in three languages, Japanese, Korean, and English. With these banners, Futenma people showed their solidarity with Jeju people.
Kadena, Okinawa City, Okinawa
On April 17, at Okinawa City Hall, Masahide Ota, former Governor of Okinawa, gave a talk “San Francisco Peace Treaty and Japan and US Security Treaty” in the seminar organized by Plaintiffs Groups for Kadena US Airbase Noise Pollution Lawsuit. About 200 people participated in the seminar as part of their action for GDAMS.
In Apri, 2011, approximately 22,000 residents living around the U.S. Kadena Air Base filed a lawsuit, demanding a nighttime flight ban and a combined ¥44.6 billion compensation from the Japanese government, arguing their health has been affected by aircraft noise. The lawsuit is the largest ever in Japan in term of the number of plaintiffs.
The message from Kadena displayed here is “Money is for food, not for Forces, Free from Nukes, Free from Bases”
Tokyo — The Religious Network for Peace-Making
The Religious Network for Peace-making has been holding monthly assemblies inside the Diet Members’ Building to oppose the dispatch overseas of the Self-Defense Force. The Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace is a member of the network. Led by its director, Fr Kazuyoshi Ohkura, they gladly linked up the network’s 10th year assembly for a GDAMS action.
Around 50 members of the Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace – Religious Network for Peace-making network, held a protest and prayer rally against the sending of Self-Defense Force overseas. The protesters called for the reduction in military spending and to channel the budget to the reconstruction of the Great East Japan Earthquake. It was the 100th rally that was held in front of the Prime Minister’s building.
Seoul — PSPD
Two actions with the slogan “Welfare, not warfare! Save Jeju Island!” were organized:
– 11.30am at the gate of the Ministry of Defense
– 1pm at Noleeteo park, near Hongik University (a popular place for young people)
Participants held a press conference with a performance comparing and contrasting two facts: on the one hand the 14 trillion won for weapon purchase, and on the other hand the human needs (tuition, free school meal, free childcare, welfare for soldiers who had to serve military service).
This press conference was followed by a singing and dancing campaign for “No Jeju naval base in Gangjeoing”.
It was great and exciting performance and experience since “ordinary people” as well as peace activists joined the event.
More information here.