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Japan protesters rail against US military base

Published on Aug 15, 2014 4:36 AM
Protesters stage a rally at the gates of Camp Schwab, near the site of the new US military runways in Nago, Okinawa prefecture on August 14, 2014. Anti-military protesters rallied on and off shore on August 14 as work began as part of the long-stalled relocation of a controversial US base in Okinawa. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Demonstrators rallied in Japan's southern Okinawa island chain, calling for work to stop on the long-stalled relocation of a controversial US military base.

About 200 protesters shouted and held placards that read "no new base" outside Camp Schwab, where workers started on the first phase of plans to build new runways for military planes - part of a wider relocation that is expected to take about five years.

Television footage showed yellow buoys being placed in the water to designate off-limit zones ahead of drilling surveys planned for next week, despite widespread objections from many Okinawans who bristle at the heavy US military presence.

"We are extremely angry about this work, which tramples on the feelings of Okinawan people," Hiroshi Ashitomi, a protest organiser, told AFP by telephone.

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