Jinshiro Motoyama Former Representative of ”Henoko” Okinawa Prefectural Referendum speaks during a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (FCCJ) on May 13, 2022, in Tokyo, Japan. Ahead of the 50th anniversary of Okinawa’s return from the U.S. to Japan, 24,250 people have signed a petition on Change.org to stop the construction of the new military base in Henoko, and a substantial reduction of the number of U.S. military bases in Okinawa. (Photo by Rodrigo Reyes Marin/AFLO)
“Hunger Strike Against Henoko on 50th anniversary of Okinawa’s Return to Japan” Jinshiro Motoyama, Former Representative of “Henoko” Okinawa Prefectural Referendum.
As Japan prepares to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Okinawa’s return, the presence of U.S. bases there continues to create controversy. Today, 70 percent of all U.S. military bases in Japan are located in Okinawa, despite decades of demands by residents to lighten the base burden by moving them elsewhere.
In addition, strong opposition has long stalled the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to an offshore replacement facility at Henoko, on the northern end of the main island. In February 2019, Jinshiro Motoyama helped lead a prefectural referendum on the issue. Though legally nonbinding, it showed that 72 percent of respondents were opposed the Henoko facility’s construction. Yet the project continues to move forward despite growing doubts, even in the U.S., the Henoko facility will be operational anytime in the foreseeable future.
Angry that the 2019 referendum has failed to move the national government and upset by Tokyo’s apparent disregard for democracy, Motoyama has launched a hunger strike in front of the Diet building. Join FCCJ as he offers his views on the situation with Henoko and the presence of U.S. bases in the prefecture.
(Photos by Rodrigo Reyes Marin). To license images please visit: AFLO