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52th Anniversary of the Okinawa “Reversion” –Smash US-Japan Security Treaty! Remove the Military Bases!

On the occasion of the 52th anniversary of the Okinawa “reversion” on May 15, 1972—strengthening of US military bases and its nuclear deployment in Okinawa in the name of “Okinawa Reversion”—we held rallies, demonstrations, and civil disobediences in Okinawa from Saturday, May 18 through Monday, May 19. The series of direct actions unleashed huge potential of the local residents’ struggles, as they had already expressed widespread anger against the buildup of the U.S. military and the Self-Defense Forces, the military fortification of the Nansei Islands, the sharp increase in large-scale military exercises naming China as a “hypothetical enemy ,” and the violent construction of a new military base in Henoko using the central government’s administrative subrogation (the Okinawa Prefectural Government refused to issue the permit for the landfill) and other outrages. Young workers and students of Okinawa Branch of the Grand March against Constitutional Revision and War led all actions.

On Saturday, 230 people gathered in front of the main gate of the Ground Self-Defense Forces’ Katsuren Garrison and protested the deployment of the 7th Land-to-Ship Missile Regiment and started for a demonstration for the first time in Katsuren. Right-wingers, apparently acting on the orders of Kishida and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, tried to disrupt the demonstration with a sound truck, but could nothing but scream. Attention on the demonstration only increased. The locals feverishly hailed the demonstrators far beyond our expectation, coming out one after another from houses along the road to cheer on the march and waved their hands in response to the chants. Following the success of this moving demonstration, a young workers’ exchange meeting was held in Uruma City.

On Sunday, after a tour of the southern Okinawa war sites and street speeches and petition campaign in Naha City, the capital city of Okinawa, a rally and demo were held to mark the 52nd anniversary of the Okinawa “Reversion,” with a large gathering that overflowed from the venue, and with that momentum, a large number of people marched on the crowded Kokusai-dori Street. People on the street joined in one after another, and the contingent expanded to more than 350 people. The right-wingers were overwhelmed and exhausted by the demonstrators’ strength. The street was filled with loud calls: “Don’t turn Okinawa into a battlefield again!”, “Stop the US-Japan war of aggression against China!”, and “Smash the US-Japan Security Treaty and remove the military bases!”.

At the Henoko on Monday, May 20, more than 400 people with groups that had participated in the peace march and sat in front of the gate for bringing in the landfill materials, achieving a great victory by completely thwarting the carrying in of soil and sand by the power of our solidarity and unity. On the final stage of the action, the participants carried out a protest and submit request at the Naha Garrison of the Ground Self-Defense Forces, concluding a three-day struggle in Okinawa that has paved the way for a historic explosion of new anti-Anpo (US-Japan Security Treaty) and Okinawa struggles.

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