90,000 Okinawans Attend Massive April 25 Rally Demanding Closure of the Futenma U.S. Marine Base & Opposing A "Replacement" Base In Henoko
Massive rally in Okinawa on April 25. 90,000 people attended. Many more intended to join the rally, but were stuck in traffic en route. Okinawa Governor Nakaima addressed the crowd, promising to listen to the protests.
基地を撤去 (Kichi wo tekkyo) means "Remove the bases"
Update: Later on April 25, 0ver 1,200 attended a candle vigil in Tokyo (photos below).
At the solidarity event in Tokyo's Meiji Park on Sunday evening, candles were lit and 1,200 people formed the letters NO BASE OKINAWA.
Let's be honest - there is no military threat in the Far East that really requires tens of thousand U.S. soldiers or marines to be based here. The only recent event when the Okinawa marines were useful was when "papa Bush" as he is called in Japan decided to send them to Kuwait in 1991, almost 20 years ago.
And Japan's tax payers are reluctantly footing a huge part of the bill, as part of deals made in the 1970s by the corrupt Liberal Democratic Party law maker and shadow "king maker" or "most ruthless" "back-room string puller" Shin Kanemaru.
This is what Prime Minister Hatoyama is trying to change: "The 2008 Japanese defense budget allocated ¥146.3 billion for labor costs, ¥36.2 billion for FIP, ¥25.3 billion for utilities, ¥500 million for training relocation, for a total of ¥208.3 billion." - Wikipedia
Photo The Mainichi
From Satoko Norimatsu of Peace Philosophy Centre Blog:
Number: 90,000. With the rallies on the two other islands, 93,700. Not quite reached the goal, but significant.
My husband said: "Governor Nakaima just had a loud voice."
Nakaima made two main points: elimination of Futenma danger, and reduction of base burden of Okinawans. Both ambiguous terms. He made only one clear point though: permanent use of Futenma could not be tolerated.
People's New Party's Shimoji, the only MP who was absent (Even LDP's Shimajiri was there!!!), could say all those things too and stay politically correct.
But again, any Nakaima is better than No Nakaima.
The three mayors, Iha of Ginowan, Inamine of Nago, and Shimabuku of Uruma, all made powerful and convincing statements, pretty much what they have been saying every day.
Japanese Communist Party's head Shii was there. He was the only party head present. I am disappointed Social Democratic Party's Fukushima did not attend.
All 41 municipalities participated: 39 mayors attending and 2 their reps.
The biggest significance was that this was the first all-party rally of this magnitude in Okinawa and Japan.
Two more photos from the Tokyo event at former NHK director Shimura's blog:
Video from Okinawa Times: