Japan: Thousands march against US base

About 90,000 people marched in Yomitan, Okinawa on April 25 to call for the closure of US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, an April 29 Counterfire.org article said. Protesters included the governor and all the mayors of Okinawa.

Participants issued a statement calling for immediate closing and relocation of Futenma US Base outside Okinawa or the country.

The rally recorded a record-high participation in Okinawa, expressing public opinion against the base. In 1995, 85,000 marched in protest at the rape of a schoolgirl by US servicemen.

On April 25, Okinawa turned yellow. The organising committee called on all Okinawa residents to wear yellow in support of the protest.

The issue of relocating Futenma Base is a critical one between the US and Japan. The protest could force Japanese Prime Minister Hatotyama to reconsider the proposed plan of offshore land reclamation planned under the 2006 Japan-US agreement. Recently, voices against the US security alliance have grown in Japan.