An island still occupied?
Posted by ampontan on Monday, September 10, 2012
I think he’ll be to Rome
As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
By sovereignty of nature.
- Shakespeare, Coriolanus, Act 4, Scene 5
SOME people in medieval times believed the osprey caught fish by mesmerizing them. Once they fell under the sea hawk spell, the finsters floated upside down to facilitate their flop into the osprey belly. That’s what Shakespeare was referring to in the passage quoted above.
The fish weren’t turning belly up at the Ginowan Seaside Park in Okinawa yesterday, just a few minutes as the osprey flies from the Futenma air base. The Okinawans already felt betrayed by Hatoyama Yukio’s false promise of three years ago to have the base moved either outside the prefecture or outside the country. Now it gets even worse: The arrival of the Osprey VTOL aircraft that has crashed or suffered other accidents several times throughout its development and deployment. The most recent incidents occurred in Morocco in April and in Florida in June. That would be dangerous enough at an Air Force base or an aircraft carrier, but danger is part of their job description. The Futenma base, however, is smack dab in the middle of a 19.7 square-kilometer island and the city of Ginowan, with a population of nearly 100,000 people.
The various party caucuses in the prefectural assembly and the prefectural federation of local chambers of commerce and industry formed an executive committee to hold a demonstration against the planned October shift of 12 Osprey from Yamaguchi to Futenma. Another demonstration in a different part of the prefecture was organized by representatives from 36 municipalities.
Naha Mayor Onaga Takeshi delivered the opening address as the committee’s representative. He said:
“The behavior of the Japanese and American governments, which are pushing through deployment against this degree of opposition, is not at all different from the forced seizure of land by bayonet and bulldozer after the war.“
As for the degree of opposition, an estimated 101,000 people showed up yesterday. Organizers are known to exaggerate crowd sizes, but you can use the following video to make your own estimate. It’s also worth watching to see how the Okinawans behave in comparison to the Occupyans.
UPDATE: An Osprey had to make an emergency landing in North Carolina over the weekend, and reporters asked Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura Osamu about it at a news conference today. That the government is forced to answer questions about individual incidents concerning an aircraft under the control of another country on the other side of the world indicates the state of mind of much of the Japanese public.
(Photo and video from the Asahi Shimbun)