5,000 Days of Protest in Okinawa

5,000 days of protest in northern Okinawa. In truth, the protests there go much further back, but 5,000 is a nice, big, profound number. It represents 5,000 days of continuous protest, of daily, symbolic and direct resistance to US militarism and militarization in the island.

I have been fortunate enough to visit the protest camps in Okinawa on several occasions since 2011. I have spoken to scholars, to activists, to students, to elders, to farmers, to fishermen and even to paddlers and scuba divers. It does make me wonder, at one point the level of militarization or of consciousness about militarization in Guam will come to a similar point. There have been outbursts, periods of direct action, protest, there has been a great deal of counter-hegemonic activity, trying to make it more possible for the community to engage in critical discussions about Guam's military presence or purpose. But nothing similar to what we see in Okinawa. Will the plans for a firing range at Litekyan bring out this type of resistance? During the recent round of public hearings some people proposed taking actions similar to those in Okinawa to block construction or training, but it remains to be seen if that passion will persist after some time passes.


Okinawa sit-in protest against Futenma relocation hits 5,000 days
The Japan Times
December 27, 2007

A sit-in protest by citizens opposed to the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma air station in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, to the Henoko coastal area in Nago, reached its 5,000th day Tuesday.

On the same day, a protest rally was held in front of a gate of the U.S. military’s Camp Schwab, which straddles Nago and the village of Ginoza, bringing together 500 people, according to its organizer.

Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine, who took part in the rally, said that the city’s mayoral election in February 2018 will be a “must-win” race.

“My resolve not to allow the construction of a new base in the sea off or on the land of Henoko has not changed at all,” said Inamine.

Yoko Akagi, 65, from the Okinawa village of Kunigami, said she hopes that “the mayor will be re-elected and a new base will not be built so the sit-in protest will not reach the next 5,000th day.”
Citizens started the sit-in protest on April 19, 2004, on the coast close to the planned Futenma relocation site, opposing a related geological survey off Henoko by a central government agency. In July 2014, they also began protesting in front of the Camp Schwab gate.


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