Residents of the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa, during a large-scale anti-war rally, have vehemently opposed the attempts by the Japanese government and U.S. military to turn Okinawa into a military fortress.
They called for opening a path to peace through dialogue during the rally held on Thursday in the capital city of Naha, which was participated by about 7,500 people from various parts of the prefecture.
Chobin Zukeran, co-representative from the organizing citizen group of the rally, stated that the main purpose of the rally is to absolutely prevent Okinawa from being involved in war again.
He emphasized the need for unity to create a peaceful society, asserting that Okinawa does not need military bases, missiles, or wartime shelters but a peaceful environment for secure living.
The Japanese government and U.S. military are attempting to turn Okinawa into a military “breakwater,” another representative from the organizer, Takamatsu Gushiken, told Xinhua.
This implies that Okinawa residents might again become victims, and without voicing opposition, the future survival of the people in Okinawa could be at risk, added Gushiken, who has long been involved in collecting the remains of those who died in the Okinawa battle of World War II.
Hiromori Maedomari, professor from the Okinawa International University, pointed out in his speech that Okinawa is viewed by the United States as a “drain.”
He urged people in Okinawa to persist in the path of peace, emphasizing that while most people in mainland Japan may adopt a bystander attitude towards Okinawa becoming a battlefield again, local residents should strive for peace through their own efforts.
“Okinawa has experienced war, and now the base issue frequently makes newspaper headlines. I do not want to experience war and do not want future generations to go through it either,” said local high school student Ichiro Uehara, who was collecting anti-war and peace signatures at the event.
Representatives from anti-war groups in various regions, including the prefecture’s Ishigaki Island, Miyako Island, and Yonaguni Island, voiced their concerns and opposition to Japan’s plans to turn southwestern islands into Self-Defense Force missile bases and enhance joint military exercises with the United States.
The rally was concluded by the issuance of a declaration titled “Dialogue to establish trust is the path to peace,” calling for the diffusion of anti-war activities from Okinawa to the entire country and urging the prevention of the Japanese government from recklessly heading toward war.
Source : XinHua