Okinawa Peace March Held on Eve of 50th Anniv. of Return to Japan
Kitanakagusuku, Okinawa Pref., May 14 (Jiji Press)--A peace march was held in Okinawa Prefecture on Saturday, a day before the 50th anniversary of its return to Japan from post-World War II U.S. occupation, with participants calling attention to the fact that Okinawa still hosts the bulk of U.S. bases in Japan.
Amid rainy weather, those taking part in the "5.15 peace march" walked through areas in the central part of Okinawa's main island, where U.S. military bases are concentrated. According to the organizers, about 1,000 people joined the event.
The participants started the march at a civic center in the city of Ginowan at 9 a.m. (midnight Friday GMT).
The marchers passed near the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air station in Ginowan and the Marine Corps' Camp Foster, also known as Camp Zukeran, which straddles municipalities including the village of Kitanakagusuku. The Futenma base is planned to be relocated to the Henoko coastal district in the city of Nago, also in the southernmost Japan prefecture. Camp Foster hosts the U.S. military command in Okinawa.
The participants then entered the city of Okinawa and passed by the site of the Koza riot, in which local residents revolted against U.S. occupation in the city of Koza, now the city of Okinawa, in 1970. The 8.7-kilometer march ended around noon at a location near the Kadena air base.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]