All posts tagged: Marine Corps Air Station Futenma

Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey at Futenma Flightline Festival

Military bases cover approximately one fifth of the main island of Okinawa. The most unpopular of the bases is Futenma, and the V-22 Osprey is its most controversial aircraft. Once a year, however, the base opens its gates to all for the Futenma Flightline Festival. There were plenty of Americans and local nationals checking out all the different planes and helicopters on display. There was a lot of interest in the Ospreys, which most people had never seen up close. Posters on the sides of the aircraft showed images from humanitarian missions. Of course, the relocation of Futenma, and the military burden placed on Okinawa is a complex and contentious issue.  I’ve photographed several anti-base protests, so it was interesting to see another viewpoint, or at least the other side of the barbed wire fence.

No Osprey Protest – Torii Base, Okinawa

Another No Osprey protest took place last week outside of Torii Army Base. It was much smaller than the event I’d previously photographed near the Ginowan Convention Center. On Friday, there were around 100 protestors (and a couple of bulls), and it only lasted for around 30 minutes. There were several short speeches by leaders of the group about not wanting Osprey helicopters and military bases on Okinawa. Then as a group they faced the gate and shouted their demands. They chanted in Japanese that they didn’t want the helicopters, they didn’t want bases, and they didn’t want military on Okinawa. Then after a brief pause, the chant became “Yankee go home, Yankee go home, Yankee go home.” This was the last thing shouted, and then the protest ended and the gathering broke up. The presence of military bases in Okinawa is a contentious and complicated issue. The Okinawans have every right to voice their opinions and try to effect change on the political situation. However, to end a demonstration repeatedly chanting “Yankee go home,” …