Japanese police drag away elderly protesters trying to block work on a contentious U.S. airbase in Okinawa. Julie Noce reports.
Okinawans protest plans to move US military base
An elderly woman shouts ‘put me down!’ as police drag her away from a protest site in Okinawa.
A group of about 100 people sat arm and arm in front of the gate of the U.S. Marine Corps Camp Schwab to demonstrate the proposed expansion of the site.
Okinawan residents oppose the central government’s plan to merge the U.S. Marines’ Futenma base, also located on the island, with Camp Schwab sighting noise, pollution and crime.
The central government meanwhile has argued that the camp at Futenma was dangerous because its surrounded by residences and schools and that the move was necessary to combat safety concerns.
The Japanese Deputy Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko.
(SOUNDBITE)(Japanese) JAPANESE DEPUTY CABINET SECRETARY, HIROSHIGE SEKO, SAYING:
“We will put maximum consideration on construction safety, the natural environment, and the living environment of citizens as we go forward in moving the airbase.”
Okinawans say they are also concerned with environmental factors over moving the base like damaging coral reefs or disrupting the habitats of the endangered marine mammal, the dugong.