Thousands gather to protest US base in Japan

Thousands of people encircle Japanese parliament to protest relocation of US base in Okinawa

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

People protesting the planned relocation of the US military base, shouting slogans and holding posters at a rally in front of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official residence, in Tokyo April 17, 2015.

Japanese parliament was surrounded by thousands of people on Sunday to protest government plans for relocating a US military base on Okinawa Island, local media reported.

About 28,000 protesters surrounded the parliament house in central Tokyo, holding hands shouting, “Don’t build the base” and hundreds more held similar protests across the country, reported Kyodo news agency.

Okinawa is the only place where Japan fought ground battles in World War II and many residents are uneasy for hosting tens of thousands of US troops and military in their area.

The United States and Japan agreed to relocate the base to Henoko in 1996, where is now a heavily populated area, but many residents of the island rejected the proposal and wanted the base to be moved altogether.

Many Okinawan citizens say they associate the US bases with noise, pollution and crime.

TRTWorld and agencies