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Construction of U.S. Base on Okinawa Delayed

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On Oct 13, after 15 months of a sustained 24-hour protest presence that has interrupted construction crews and constantly delayed the entrance and exit of U.S. marines to their new base at Henoko, the governor of Okinawa ruled the construction illegal. This has become a routine affair where Governor Takeshi Onaga finds some technical legal issue to stop construction, and a week or so later Tokyo overrules him. Yet, protesters on Okinawa take it as one more sign they are having an effect.

“If the people’s interest keeps growing, the government will give up,” insisted Yuchi Kamoshita, a Buddhist monk, and one of the regular protesters.

Although the majority of Okinawa politicians and intellectuals quoted in local media express worry that constructing what would be the 875 sq. mi. island’s 33rd U.S. military facility would imply bad faith and would put the Japan-U.S. alliance in jeopardy, protesters at the site believe it is important to challenge U.S. regional power projection in general. As military trucks go in and out of Henoko accompanied by Japanese security guards, people on loudspeakers chant “Marines Out of Okinawa” and “Close All Bases.”