Japan: Protests Mount (again) over US’ Okinawa base–Can’t Stay, Can’t Move, Won’t Go

Protesters block delivery of U.S. base environment report to Okinawa government

JapanToday, National, Dec. 28, 2011

TOKYO — Japan’s years-long bout of indecision over plans to move a U.S. military base on Okinawa appeared to be descending into farce Tuesday when protesters stopped couriers from delivering a report.

Around 100 people opposed to plans to shift the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station at Futenma to a quiet coastal spot on the southern island surrounded a delivery van carrying an environmental impact assessment.

Local media say the government-commissioned report, which Washington demanded be completed by the end of the year, is likely to say nature would suffer little if a giant runway-on-stilts was built in turquoise seas by a pristine shoreline.

Many Okinawans, angry at decades of having shouldered the burden of more than half of the around 50,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan, say they do not want the facility at Henoko on the east coast of the island.

They say another part of Japan should take the base, which currently sits in a crowded urban area of the island, near dozens of schools and hospitals. Continue reading