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On assignment for Greenpeace.

On assignment for Greenpeace.

Dawn at the main entrance into Camp Schwab. Protesters started direct action in front of this gate in July, 2014. However, the movement to prevent the expansion of the US military base is nearly 18 years old.

The US military has made the completion of the new base at Henoko a condition for closing the dangerous Marine Corps Futenma Air Station. The crash of a US Marine transport helicopter from Futenma into a university campus, located in a crowded neighborhood, on August 13 2004 was a terrifying reminder of what is at stake in this struggle. The Guardian has stated that the location of the military air station in Ginowan "would be like having F22s landing in Hyde Park [London]." By linking the closure of Futenma to the construction of the new air base, the Japanese government and the US military have offered Okinawa’s urban residents the intolerable option of choosing whether to sacrifice their own safety, or their environmental heritage. Moving the military functions of Futenma to Henoko, moreover, merely shifts the affliction of the US base to other communities within Okinawa. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

 Protestors against a new U.S. base in Henoko. Its construction will double the size of the current base, creating a US military mega-base that will include two airstrips. Plans are afoot to reclaim land in the surrounding sea to achieve this. This will permanently damage the coral reefs and the feeding grounds of the dugong, an endangered animal. Preparations for construction has already started and a perimeter has already been set up that restricts access for the general public. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Protestors against a new U.S. base in Henoko. Its construction will double the size of the current base, creating a US military mega-base that will include two airstrips. Plans are afoot to reclaim land in the surrounding sea to achieve this. This will permanently damage the coral reefs and the feeding grounds of the dugong, an endangered animal. Preparations for construction has already started and a perimeter has already been set up that restricts access for the general public. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

 An activist and a journalist monitor developments on the sea as protestors in boats take direct action to impede construction works  for a new U.S. military base within the orange perimeter. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

An activist and a journalist monitor developments on the sea as protestors in boats take direct action to impede construction works  for a new U.S. military base within the orange perimeter. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

 A wide range of topography supports the different ecosystems that continuously exist in Oura Bay; mangrove forests, tidelands, seagrass beds, sandy areas, mud flats and coral reefs. The two rivers from the “Yanbaru” forest run into this area also support the rich marine ecosystem. Large colonies of endangered blue coral (Heliopora coerulea), the last remaining reef on mainland Okinawa, are thriving in this area. The bay is also the feeding ground of the sea mammal, dugong, classified as critically endangered by the Japanese Ministry of Environment. It is a habitat for over 5,300 marine organisms, including 262 endangered species. These facts highlight the importance of this coastal area for biodiversity. The coastal area of Henoko and Oura Bay is on the list of Important Marine Areas in Japan selected by the Japanese Ministry of Environment.  At this very moment, the Japanese government is forcing through a plan to build a new military base, an expansion of Camp Schwab, that will involve reclaiming land from the sea. Should this plan succeed, the rich and biodiverse Oura Bay will be irrevocably endangered. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

A wide range of topography supports the different ecosystems that continuously exist in Oura Bay; mangrove forests, tidelands, seagrass beds, sandy areas, mud flats and coral reefs. The two rivers from the “Yanbaru” forest run into this area also support the rich marine ecosystem. Large colonies of endangered blue coral (Heliopora coerulea), the last remaining reef on mainland Okinawa, are thriving in this area. The bay is also the feeding ground of the sea mammal, dugong, classified as critically endangered by the Japanese Ministry of Environment. It is a habitat for over 5,300 marine organisms, including 262 endangered species. These facts highlight the importance of this coastal area for biodiversity. The coastal area of Henoko and Oura Bay is on the list of Important Marine Areas in Japan selected by the Japanese Ministry of Environment.

At this very moment, the Japanese government is forcing through a plan to build a new military base, an expansion of Camp Schwab, that will involve reclaiming land from the sea. Should this plan succeed, the rich and biodiverse Oura Bay will be irrevocably endangered. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

 Mr. Muneyoshi Kayoh and his wife, Yoshiko, in their home. Muneyoshi, 93 years old, is a retired veteran and farmer. He is a popular figure among protesters in Henoko and is affectionately called ‘Grandpa Kayoh’. Originally from Henoko, he has witnessed changes in the environment where he lives: pond snails, geckos, black shrimp, and crabs have all disappeared since his childhood days.   In 1942, at the age of 19, he was enlisted in the Japanese Navy and was stationed at Cam Ranh Bay in French Indochina (Vietnam). His experience with war has affected his view of military bases. He wants to see all military bases out of Okinawa. He is worried about the impact of pesticides and oil on the environment. It was reported that there were ‘burning water wells’ in the Kadena area, because well water was contaminated by a jet fuel leak from the Kadena U.S. Airbase in 1967. The soil, he says, was also contaminated with Agent Orange in Camp Schwab.  There is a local saying that says anyone who lives to the age of 90 is lucky and therefore no longer needs to live longer. However, Mr. Kayoh says he is unable to rest until the problems of Henoko are resolved.

Mr. Muneyoshi Kayoh and his wife, Yoshiko, in their home. Muneyoshi, 93 years old, is a retired veteran and farmer. He is a popular figure among protesters in Henoko and is affectionately called ‘Grandpa Kayoh’. Originally from Henoko, he has witnessed changes in the environment where he lives: pond snails, geckos, black shrimp, and crabs have all disappeared since his childhood days. 

In 1942, at the age of 19, he was enlisted in the Japanese Navy and was stationed at Cam Ranh Bay in French Indochina (Vietnam). His experience with war has affected his view of military bases. He wants to see all military bases out of Okinawa. He is worried about the impact of pesticides and oil on the environment. It was reported that there were ‘burning water wells’ in the Kadena area, because well water was contaminated by a jet fuel leak from the Kadena U.S. Airbase in 1967. The soil, he says, was also contaminated with Agent Orange in Camp Schwab.

There is a local saying that says anyone who lives to the age of 90 is lucky and therefore no longer needs to live longer. However, Mr. Kayoh says he is unable to rest until the problems of Henoko are resolved.

 A tombstone in the surrounding landscape of Henoko. Okinawa, previously the Ryuku Kingdom was independent until four years after the 1868 Meiji Restoration where the Japanese government through military incursions, officially annexed the kingdom and renamed it Ryukyu Han. It subsequently became Okinawa Prefecture of Japan in 1879. Near the end of World War II, in 1945, the US Army and Marine Corps invaded Okinawa with 185,000 troops. A third of the civilian population were killed; a quarter of the civilian population were killed during the 1945 Battle of Okinawa alone. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

A tombstone in the surrounding landscape of Henoko. Okinawa, previously the Ryuku Kingdom was independent until four years after the 1868 Meiji Restoration where the Japanese government through military incursions, officially annexed the kingdom and renamed it Ryukyu Han. It subsequently became Okinawa Prefecture of Japan in 1879. Near the end of World War II, in 1945, the US Army and Marine Corps invaded Okinawa with 185,000 troops. A third of the civilian population were killed; a quarter of the civilian population were killed during the 1945 Battle of Okinawa alone. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

 Ms Yuri Soma is 38 years old and a captain of a protest boat, Henoko Blue. She used to work as a carer for elderly people in Okinawa. During that time she discovered many of the people she tended to had extensive scars on their bodies, injuries from their childhood during the Battle of Okinawa.  During her earlier visits as a protestor in Henoko, she was encouraged to acquire a boating license in order to captain the boats. After passing, her inclination to be more involved in the Henoko protests increased, eventually turning it into a full time occupation. The decision to give up her job as a carer was particularly difficult since she and those she cared for had become attached to each other. However a friend, a bed-ridden old man she cared for, gave her the encouragement she needed  by saying, “I cannot move my body, but you can take action for Henoko.”   She has been an activist for one year. Her main roles are piloting the protest boats and monitoring the actions of Japan Coast Guard and the Okinawa Defence Bureau in Oura Bay. She was featured in ”Ikusaba Nu Tudumi,” a documentary film whose title means, ‘Stop Okinawa becoming a battlefield again.’ The film was screened more than 2,000 times across Japan. For her, the ideal solution would be to eliminate any need for an army.

Ms Yuri Soma is 38 years old and a captain of a protest boat, Henoko Blue. She used to work as a carer for elderly people in Okinawa. During that time she discovered many of the people she tended to had extensive scars on their bodies, injuries from their childhood during the Battle of Okinawa.

During her earlier visits as a protestor in Henoko, she was encouraged to acquire a boating license in order to captain the boats. After passing, her inclination to be more involved in the Henoko protests increased, eventually turning it into a full time occupation. The decision to give up her job as a carer was particularly difficult since she and those she cared for had become attached to each other. However a friend, a bed-ridden old man she cared for, gave her the encouragement she needed  by saying, “I cannot move my body, but you can take action for Henoko.” 

She has been an activist for one year. Her main roles are piloting the protest boats and monitoring the actions of Japan Coast Guard and the Okinawa Defence Bureau in Oura Bay. She was featured in ”Ikusaba Nu Tudumi,” a documentary film whose title means, ‘Stop Okinawa becoming a battlefield again.’ The film was screened more than 2,000 times across Japan. For her, the ideal solution would be to eliminate any need for an army.

 The coastline of Henoko. Much of the ocean on the opposite shoreline will become a militarised zone should the expansion of Camp Schwab be successful. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

The coastline of Henoko. Much of the ocean on the opposite shoreline will become a militarised zone should the expansion of Camp Schwab be successful. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

 Hiroshi Ashitomi, 69 years old, is a retired public welfare officer in the Okinawa prefectural office. He has been involved in the movement against US military bases on the island for 18 years. He co-leads the Anti-Helicopter Base Council, a citizen’s group, founded in 1997 in Nago City after a plebiscite on the question of whether to build a new base at Henoko. The council has tree planting groups, kayak activists, protest ships and a diving team that monitors the base’s impact on the marine environment. They all have aspirational names like Henoko Blue for the kayak activists and Rainbow Diving Team for the divers.  Hiroshi was born in Tokyo in 1946. His father is originally from Okinawa, and moved from Tokyo to Okinawa when it was still occupied by the US military. When he was a high school student, coinciding with the Vietnam War was a growing movement in Okinawa against the US occupation. He says the Futenma Airbase was created on land where Okinawa people originally lived. Just after the war, the U.S. military seized the land, destroyed villages, and created the airbase.  Hiroshi claims he is not anti-American – he loves jazz and American pop music. But it is the US government’s treatment of the Okinawan people that has incensed him. His idol is a man who led the original anti-base movement on the island, known as the “Gandhi of Okinawa. Shoko Ahagon led a non-violent resistance movement of Japanese peace activists. Ultimately Hiroshi wants to see Futenma Airbase removed from Okinawa, and the construction of the new base at Henoko stopped.

Hiroshi Ashitomi, 69 years old, is a retired public welfare officer in the Okinawa prefectural office. He has been involved in the movement against US military bases on the island for 18 years. He co-leads the Anti-Helicopter Base Council, a citizen’s group, founded in 1997 in Nago City after a plebiscite on the question of whether to build a new base at Henoko. The council has tree planting groups, kayak activists, protest ships and a diving team that monitors the base’s impact on the marine environment. They all have aspirational names like Henoko Blue for the kayak activists and Rainbow Diving Team for the divers.

Hiroshi was born in Tokyo in 1946. His father is originally from Okinawa, and moved from Tokyo to Okinawa when it was still occupied by the US military. When he was a high school student, coinciding with the Vietnam War was a growing movement in Okinawa against the US occupation. He says the Futenma Airbase was created on land where Okinawa people originally lived. Just after the war, the U.S. military seized the land, destroyed villages, and created the airbase.

Hiroshi claims he is not anti-American – he loves jazz and American pop music. But it is the US government’s treatment of the Okinawan people that has incensed him. His idol is a man who led the original anti-base movement on the island, known as the “Gandhi of Okinawa. Shoko Ahagon led a non-violent resistance movement of Japanese peace activists. Ultimately Hiroshi wants to see Futenma Airbase removed from Okinawa, and the construction of the new base at Henoko stopped.

 Protestors in kayaks are restrained by Japanese coast guards swimming in the sea. Technically by law, non-motorised boats are outside the jurisdiction of the Japan Coast Guard, an important reason for protestors to use kayaks. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Protestors in kayaks are restrained by Japanese coast guards swimming in the sea. Technically by law, non-motorised boats are outside the jurisdiction of the Japan Coast Guard, an important reason for protestors to use kayaks. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

 Mr. Kazunari Nakasone, an eco-tourism guide, is the 36-year old captain of the protest ship, Henoko Blue. He lives in Nago City, Okinawa. Originally from Motobu-cho, near Nago City, he has been working as a trekking guide and sea kayaker for the past 7 years. His main clients are students on school trips, many of whom kayak around Oura Bay and remark on its beauty. When the new base is built, and the sea reclaimed for the military airstrips, the base will essentially be reclaiming what those school children say is beautiful.  When Kazunari started his eco tourism company, there were no floats in the sea to demarcate the exclusion zone of the military base in Oura Bay. He claims the orange floats changed the water flow of the bay. He was shocked to find that 115 large concrete blocks have been placed around the floats to keep them anchored whilst simultaneously destroying the reef on which they rest.  As captain of Henoko Blue, the protest boat belonging to the Anti-Helicopter Base Council, he monitors the movement of Japan Cost Guard and the Okinawa Defense Bureau in Oura Bay. Almost every morning, before getting on the boat, he goes to the morning protests being held in front of the gates of Camp Schwab.   Kazunari does not dislike the US marines on the island because he knows they are in Okinawa simply to make a living. He just wants to see all US military bases removed from the island.

Mr. Kazunari Nakasone, an eco-tourism guide, is the 36-year old captain of the protest ship, Henoko Blue. He lives in Nago City, Okinawa. Originally from Motobu-cho, near Nago City, he has been working as a trekking guide and sea kayaker for the past 7 years. His main clients are students on school trips, many of whom kayak around Oura Bay and remark on its beauty. When the new base is built, and the sea reclaimed for the military airstrips, the base will essentially be reclaiming what those school children say is beautiful.

When Kazunari started his eco tourism company, there were no floats in the sea to demarcate the exclusion zone of the military base in Oura Bay. He claims the orange floats changed the water flow of the bay. He was shocked to find that 115 large concrete blocks have been placed around the floats to keep them anchored whilst simultaneously destroying the reef on which they rest.

As captain of Henoko Blue, the protest boat belonging to the Anti-Helicopter Base Council, he monitors the movement of Japan Cost Guard and the Okinawa Defense Bureau in Oura Bay. Almost every morning, before getting on the boat, he goes to the morning protests being held in front of the gates of Camp Schwab. 

Kazunari does not dislike the US marines on the island because he knows they are in Okinawa simply to make a living. He just wants to see all US military bases removed from the island.

 Oura Bay, where the endangered species of Dugong feed and where there is a rich marine life that is currently under threat due to the planned expansion of Camp Schwab. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Oura Bay, where the endangered species of Dugong feed and where there is a rich marine life that is currently under threat due to the planned expansion of Camp Schwab. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

 Japanese visitors viewing Futenma Air Base. Futenma Airfield was constructed by the US military following the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. According to Ginowan City records, the joint population of what was then Ginowan Village (now Ginowan City) was 12,994 in 1944. With the end of the war, the airfield became a United States Air Force Far East Air Force installation known as Futenma Air Base, and was used as a support airfield for the nearby Kadena Air Base. The airbase has become a focal point of various political controversies in recent years. Due to population growth and encroachment around the base, concerns surrounding flights over residential areas causing noise, air pollution and endangering public safety also became controversial issues. This was heightened after the August 2004 crash of a Marine Corps CH-53D transport helicopter on the campus of Okinawa International University. The Guardian has stated that the location of MCAS Futenma in Ginowan "would be like having F22s landing in Hyde Park [London]." Ginowan, Okinawa, Japan.

Japanese visitors viewing Futenma Air Base. Futenma Airfield was constructed by the US military following the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. According to Ginowan City records, the joint population of what was then Ginowan Village (now Ginowan City) was 12,994 in 1944. With the end of the war, the airfield became a United States Air Force Far East Air Force installation known as Futenma Air Base, and was used as a support airfield for the nearby Kadena Air Base. The airbase has become a focal point of various political controversies in recent years. Due to population growth and encroachment around the base, concerns surrounding flights over residential areas causing noise, air pollution and endangering public safety also became controversial issues. This was heightened after the August 2004 crash of a Marine Corps CH-53D transport helicopter on the campus of Okinawa International University. The Guardian has stated that the location of MCAS Futenma in Ginowan "would be like having F22s landing in Hyde Park [London]." Ginowan, Okinawa, Japan.

 'Save the dugong' bill boards on a coastal road.  Camp Schwab,  a U.S. military base in Henoko is under expansion. Construction will double its current size and will eventually include two airstrips. In order to do this plans to reclaim land in the surrounding sea are afoot. This will permanently damage the coral reefs and the feeding grounds of the dugong, an endangered species. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

'Save the dugong' bill boards on a coastal road.  Camp Schwab,  a U.S. military base in Henoko is under expansion. Construction will double its current size and will eventually include two airstrips. In order to do this plans to reclaim land in the surrounding sea are afoot. This will permanently damage the coral reefs and the feeding grounds of the dugong, an endangered species. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

 Etsuko Urashima is a 67 year old writer, originally from Sendai City in Kagoshima. She wears a t-shirt printed with an extract from Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, previously known as the “Peace Constitution”. She met her ex-husband in Amami Oshima when she was active in the counter-cultural environmental movement, and the experience sparked her interest in activism and writing. She’s had five books published since 1995.  When Okinawa was returned to Japan in 1972 from the USA, it was a common belief that many of the bases would be removed from the island. That was never the case, Etsuko claims, the central government provided subsidies to the local government in an effort to appease the local population and still continues this strategy till this day with similar matters.  When Etsuko came to Okinawa she wanted to live away from the urban areas, and surround herself in nature. Around that time, an incident of rape of a 12 year old Japanese girl by a US Marine occurred at Kinjyoj, which sparked a movement in opposition to Futenma Airbase. Subsequently Henoko was suggested as a possible relocation. Etsuko postulates, it is difficult to say whether or not there are any ways for Okinawa to be independent economically without the US military bases. The lands occupied by the bases are usually the most fertile and suitable for agriculture. If the lands are returned to the people local industries could develop further. At the moment, she feels, Okinawa’s development is actually being held back by the bases. She ultimately wants to see all US military bases removed from Okinawa. Etsuko says military bases are incompatible to Okinawa’s desire for peace.

Etsuko Urashima is a 67 year old writer, originally from Sendai City in Kagoshima. She wears a t-shirt printed with an extract from Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, previously known as the “Peace Constitution”. She met her ex-husband in Amami Oshima when she was active in the counter-cultural environmental movement, and the experience sparked her interest in activism and writing. She’s had five books published since 1995.

When Okinawa was returned to Japan in 1972 from the USA, it was a common belief that many of the bases would be removed from the island. That was never the case, Etsuko claims, the central government provided subsidies to the local government in an effort to appease the local population and still continues this strategy till this day with similar matters.

When Etsuko came to Okinawa she wanted to live away from the urban areas, and surround herself in nature. Around that time, an incident of rape of a 12 year old Japanese girl by a US Marine occurred at Kinjyoj, which sparked a movement in opposition to Futenma Airbase. Subsequently Henoko was suggested as a possible relocation. Etsuko postulates, it is difficult to say whether or not there are any ways for Okinawa to be independent economically without the US military bases. The lands occupied by the bases are usually the most fertile and suitable for agriculture. If the lands are returned to the people local industries could develop further. At the moment, she feels, Okinawa’s development is actually being held back by the bases. She ultimately wants to see all US military bases removed from Okinawa. Etsuko says military bases are incompatible to Okinawa’s desire for peace.

 After the Okinawan Sabani ceremony, Sabani being the name for the traditional boat of this region, women go to pay their respects to nature at a beach in Henoko. Despite modernisation Okinawa continues to have deep animist cultural roots, a belief that spirits lie within the mountains, the sea, the trees and animals, in essence the worship of nature. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.   

After the Okinawan Sabani ceremony, Sabani being the name for the traditional boat of this region, women go to pay their respects to nature at a beach in Henoko. Despite modernisation Okinawa continues to have deep animist cultural roots, a belief that spirits lie within the mountains, the sea, the trees and animals, in essence the worship of nature. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

 

 Japan Coast Guard ensures that protestors do not enter the restricted area recently cordoned off for the construction of the US air base, essentially an expansion of Camp Schwab. Its construction will double the size of the current base, creating a US military mega-base that will include two airstrips. Plans are afoot to reclaim land in the sea to achieve this. This will permanently damage the coral reefs and the feeding grounds of the dugong, an endangered animal.  Frequent recent incursions by activists have resulted in the authorities tripling the number of orange buoys at the restricted perimeter. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Japan Coast Guard ensures that protestors do not enter the restricted area recently cordoned off for the construction of the US air base, essentially an expansion of Camp Schwab. Its construction will double the size of the current base, creating a US military mega-base that will include two airstrips. Plans are afoot to reclaim land in the sea to achieve this. This will permanently damage the coral reefs and the feeding grounds of the dugong, an endangered animal.  Frequent recent incursions by activists have resulted in the authorities tripling the number of orange buoys at the restricted perimeter. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

 Protestors outside the main gate of Camp Schwab. Many of the protestors are elderly people who try to block the entrance using their bodies. Large groups of police come out in force when vehicles carrying building material are about to enter the US Military Base. Each protestor is often removed by several policeman carrying the individual away from the entrance. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Protestors outside the main gate of Camp Schwab. Many of the protestors are elderly people who try to block the entrance using their bodies. Large groups of police come out in force when vehicles carrying building material are about to enter the US Military Base. Each protestor is often removed by several policeman carrying the individual away from the entrance. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

 Coast guards from Japanese Coast Guard are on a high speed chase pursuing protestors that have entered the new restricted perimeter that is now closed to the public due to the planned expansion of the US military base, Camp Schwab. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Coast guards from Japanese Coast Guard are on a high speed chase pursuing protestors that have entered the new restricted perimeter that is now closed to the public due to the planned expansion of the US military base, Camp Schwab. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

 Construction of a new tunnel in Nago. Compensation packages are paid to Okinawa by the Japanese Government for the Okinawan's hosting of American military bases. Many activists have highlighted that this has often led to unnecessary construction work in many places on the island. As a result, they fear the environment will be irrevocably damaged.

Construction of a new tunnel in Nago. Compensation packages are paid to Okinawa by the Japanese Government for the Okinawan's hosting of American military bases. Many activists have highlighted that this has often led to unnecessary construction work in many places on the island. As a result, they fear the environment will be irrevocably damaged.

 The landscape and nature in Kayo, north of Henoko. The area is rich with the sounds of various animals that live in the forest. The forest and the two rivers that lead to the sea are an important feature to the ecosystem in and around Oura Bay. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

The landscape and nature in Kayo, north of Henoko. The area is rich with the sounds of various animals that live in the forest. The forest and the two rivers that lead to the sea are an important feature to the ecosystem in and around Oura Bay. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

 Mr. Takekiyo Toguchi is 58 years old and a road contractor for Nago City. It was 19 years ago he had his first child, the experience made him think about his child’s future. Eventually, 11 years ago, he decided to start the Peace Candle Protest. Unlike other protest groups his happened every Saturday evening and it took on a calmer note. He wanted to find a way to involve his children and the other protests were sometimes too aggressive, this was a gentle way to express their feelings publicly.   Despite having his road contracting business, he felt he should still express that he was anti-Henoko. Toguchi felt it was important to demonstrate to other similar businesses that it was possible to survive without contracts that involved the expansion of US Military bases. Ironically he has more work now than before. He reasons that many businesses went bust as they waited for too long a time for confirmation on the expansion of the US military base.   Initially when Toguchi first started the Peace Candle Protest many of his colleagues said he was crazy. They felt he would end up isolating himself, and not surviving because ultimately, he would jeopardise his chances of getting contracts from the government. He says in the first 6 months to a year, life was particularly difficult, his wife ended up supporting the family because he could not get any contracts. Not long ago he was asked to survey the land in Camp Schwab where they would build the airstrips. He was offered 20% of the actual construction cost for the particular job he had to survey. Toguchi turned the job down.

Mr. Takekiyo Toguchi is 58 years old and a road contractor for Nago City. It was 19 years ago he had his first child, the experience made him think about his child’s future. Eventually, 11 years ago, he decided to start the Peace Candle Protest. Unlike other protest groups his happened every Saturday evening and it took on a calmer note. He wanted to find a way to involve his children and the other protests were sometimes too aggressive, this was a gentle way to express their feelings publicly. 

Despite having his road contracting business, he felt he should still express that he was anti-Henoko. Toguchi felt it was important to demonstrate to other similar businesses that it was possible to survive without contracts that involved the expansion of US Military bases. Ironically he has more work now than before. He reasons that many businesses went bust as they waited for too long a time for confirmation on the expansion of the US military base. 

Initially when Toguchi first started the Peace Candle Protest many of his colleagues said he was crazy. They felt he would end up isolating himself, and not surviving because ultimately, he would jeopardise his chances of getting contracts from the government. He says in the first 6 months to a year, life was particularly difficult, his wife ended up supporting the family because he could not get any contracts. Not long ago he was asked to survey the land in Camp Schwab where they would build the airstrips. He was offered 20% of the actual construction cost for the particular job he had to survey. Toguchi turned the job down.

 Camp Schwab and Oura Bay. Much of the ocean on the opposite shoreline will become a militarised zone. The orange buoys in the distance mark the perimeter that is now to be off limits to the public. A significant proportion of that area within the zone will be filled and eventually become reclaimed land. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Camp Schwab and Oura Bay. Much of the ocean on the opposite shoreline will become a militarised zone. The orange buoys in the distance mark the perimeter that is now to be off limits to the public. A significant proportion of that area within the zone will be filled and eventually become reclaimed land. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

 Futenma Airfield was constructed by the US military following the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. According to Ginowan City records, the joint population of what was then Ginowan Village (now Ginowan City) was 12,994 in 1944, today it is 94,405. The US military has made the completion of the new base at Henoko a condition for closing the dangerous Marine Corps Futenma Air Station. The crash of a US Marine transport helicopter from Futenma into a university campus, located in a crowded neighborhood, on 13 August 2004 was a terrifying reminder of what is at stake in this struggle. The Guardian has stated that the location of the military air station in Ginowan "would be like having F22s landing in Hyde Park [London]." By linking the closure of Futenma to the construction of the new air base, the Japanese government and the US military have offered Okinawa’s urban residents the intolerable option of choosing whether to sacrifice their own safety, or their environmental heritage. Moving the military functions of Futenma to Henoko, moreover, merely shifts the affliction of the US base to other communities within Okinawa. Ginowan, Okinawa, Japan.

Futenma Airfield was constructed by the US military following the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. According to Ginowan City records, the joint population of what was then Ginowan Village (now Ginowan City) was 12,994 in 1944, today it is 94,405. The US military has made the completion of the new base at Henoko a condition for closing the dangerous Marine Corps Futenma Air Station. The crash of a US Marine transport helicopter from Futenma into a university campus, located in a crowded neighborhood, on 13 August 2004 was a terrifying reminder of what is at stake in this struggle. The Guardian has stated that the location of the military air station in Ginowan "would be like having F22s landing in Hyde Park [London]." By linking the closure of Futenma to the construction of the new air base, the Japanese government and the US military have offered Okinawa’s urban residents the intolerable option of choosing whether to sacrifice their own safety, or their environmental heritage. Moving the military functions of Futenma to Henoko, moreover, merely shifts the affliction of the US base to other communities within Okinawa. Ginowan, Okinawa, Japan.

On assignment for Greenpeace.

Dawn at the main entrance into Camp Schwab. Protesters started direct action in front of this gate in July, 2014. However, the movement to prevent the expansion of the US military base is nearly 18 years old.

The US military has made the completion of the new base at Henoko a condition for closing the dangerous Marine Corps Futenma Air Station. The crash of a US Marine transport helicopter from Futenma into a university campus, located in a crowded neighborhood, on August 13 2004 was a terrifying reminder of what is at stake in this struggle. The Guardian has stated that the location of the military air station in Ginowan "would be like having F22s landing in Hyde Park [London]." By linking the closure of Futenma to the construction of the new air base, the Japanese government and the US military have offered Okinawa’s urban residents the intolerable option of choosing whether to sacrifice their own safety, or their environmental heritage. Moving the military functions of Futenma to Henoko, moreover, merely shifts the affliction of the US base to other communities within Okinawa. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Protestors against a new U.S. base in Henoko. Its construction will double the size of the current base, creating a US military mega-base that will include two airstrips. Plans are afoot to reclaim land in the surrounding sea to achieve this. This will permanently damage the coral reefs and the feeding grounds of the dugong, an endangered animal. Preparations for construction has already started and a perimeter has already been set up that restricts access for the general public. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

An activist and a journalist monitor developments on the sea as protestors in boats take direct action to impede construction works  for a new U.S. military base within the orange perimeter. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

A wide range of topography supports the different ecosystems that continuously exist in Oura Bay; mangrove forests, tidelands, seagrass beds, sandy areas, mud flats and coral reefs. The two rivers from the “Yanbaru” forest run into this area also support the rich marine ecosystem. Large colonies of endangered blue coral (Heliopora coerulea), the last remaining reef on mainland Okinawa, are thriving in this area. The bay is also the feeding ground of the sea mammal, dugong, classified as critically endangered by the Japanese Ministry of Environment. It is a habitat for over 5,300 marine organisms, including 262 endangered species. These facts highlight the importance of this coastal area for biodiversity. The coastal area of Henoko and Oura Bay is on the list of Important Marine Areas in Japan selected by the Japanese Ministry of Environment.

At this very moment, the Japanese government is forcing through a plan to build a new military base, an expansion of Camp Schwab, that will involve reclaiming land from the sea. Should this plan succeed, the rich and biodiverse Oura Bay will be irrevocably endangered. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Mr. Muneyoshi Kayoh and his wife, Yoshiko, in their home. Muneyoshi, 93 years old, is a retired veteran and farmer. He is a popular figure among protesters in Henoko and is affectionately called ‘Grandpa Kayoh’. Originally from Henoko, he has witnessed changes in the environment where he lives: pond snails, geckos, black shrimp, and crabs have all disappeared since his childhood days. 

In 1942, at the age of 19, he was enlisted in the Japanese Navy and was stationed at Cam Ranh Bay in French Indochina (Vietnam). His experience with war has affected his view of military bases. He wants to see all military bases out of Okinawa. He is worried about the impact of pesticides and oil on the environment. It was reported that there were ‘burning water wells’ in the Kadena area, because well water was contaminated by a jet fuel leak from the Kadena U.S. Airbase in 1967. The soil, he says, was also contaminated with Agent Orange in Camp Schwab.

There is a local saying that says anyone who lives to the age of 90 is lucky and therefore no longer needs to live longer. However, Mr. Kayoh says he is unable to rest until the problems of Henoko are resolved.

A tombstone in the surrounding landscape of Henoko. Okinawa, previously the Ryuku Kingdom was independent until four years after the 1868 Meiji Restoration where the Japanese government through military incursions, officially annexed the kingdom and renamed it Ryukyu Han. It subsequently became Okinawa Prefecture of Japan in 1879. Near the end of World War II, in 1945, the US Army and Marine Corps invaded Okinawa with 185,000 troops. A third of the civilian population were killed; a quarter of the civilian population were killed during the 1945 Battle of Okinawa alone. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Ms Yuri Soma is 38 years old and a captain of a protest boat, Henoko Blue. She used to work as a carer for elderly people in Okinawa. During that time she discovered many of the people she tended to had extensive scars on their bodies, injuries from their childhood during the Battle of Okinawa.

During her earlier visits as a protestor in Henoko, she was encouraged to acquire a boating license in order to captain the boats. After passing, her inclination to be more involved in the Henoko protests increased, eventually turning it into a full time occupation. The decision to give up her job as a carer was particularly difficult since she and those she cared for had become attached to each other. However a friend, a bed-ridden old man she cared for, gave her the encouragement she needed  by saying, “I cannot move my body, but you can take action for Henoko.” 

She has been an activist for one year. Her main roles are piloting the protest boats and monitoring the actions of Japan Coast Guard and the Okinawa Defence Bureau in Oura Bay. She was featured in ”Ikusaba Nu Tudumi,” a documentary film whose title means, ‘Stop Okinawa becoming a battlefield again.’ The film was screened more than 2,000 times across Japan. For her, the ideal solution would be to eliminate any need for an army.

The coastline of Henoko. Much of the ocean on the opposite shoreline will become a militarised zone should the expansion of Camp Schwab be successful. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Hiroshi Ashitomi, 69 years old, is a retired public welfare officer in the Okinawa prefectural office. He has been involved in the movement against US military bases on the island for 18 years. He co-leads the Anti-Helicopter Base Council, a citizen’s group, founded in 1997 in Nago City after a plebiscite on the question of whether to build a new base at Henoko. The council has tree planting groups, kayak activists, protest ships and a diving team that monitors the base’s impact on the marine environment. They all have aspirational names like Henoko Blue for the kayak activists and Rainbow Diving Team for the divers.

Hiroshi was born in Tokyo in 1946. His father is originally from Okinawa, and moved from Tokyo to Okinawa when it was still occupied by the US military. When he was a high school student, coinciding with the Vietnam War was a growing movement in Okinawa against the US occupation. He says the Futenma Airbase was created on land where Okinawa people originally lived. Just after the war, the U.S. military seized the land, destroyed villages, and created the airbase.

Hiroshi claims he is not anti-American – he loves jazz and American pop music. But it is the US government’s treatment of the Okinawan people that has incensed him. His idol is a man who led the original anti-base movement on the island, known as the “Gandhi of Okinawa. Shoko Ahagon led a non-violent resistance movement of Japanese peace activists. Ultimately Hiroshi wants to see Futenma Airbase removed from Okinawa, and the construction of the new base at Henoko stopped.

Protestors in kayaks are restrained by Japanese coast guards swimming in the sea. Technically by law, non-motorised boats are outside the jurisdiction of the Japan Coast Guard, an important reason for protestors to use kayaks. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Mr. Kazunari Nakasone, an eco-tourism guide, is the 36-year old captain of the protest ship, Henoko Blue. He lives in Nago City, Okinawa. Originally from Motobu-cho, near Nago City, he has been working as a trekking guide and sea kayaker for the past 7 years. His main clients are students on school trips, many of whom kayak around Oura Bay and remark on its beauty. When the new base is built, and the sea reclaimed for the military airstrips, the base will essentially be reclaiming what those school children say is beautiful.

When Kazunari started his eco tourism company, there were no floats in the sea to demarcate the exclusion zone of the military base in Oura Bay. He claims the orange floats changed the water flow of the bay. He was shocked to find that 115 large concrete blocks have been placed around the floats to keep them anchored whilst simultaneously destroying the reef on which they rest.

As captain of Henoko Blue, the protest boat belonging to the Anti-Helicopter Base Council, he monitors the movement of Japan Cost Guard and the Okinawa Defense Bureau in Oura Bay. Almost every morning, before getting on the boat, he goes to the morning protests being held in front of the gates of Camp Schwab. 

Kazunari does not dislike the US marines on the island because he knows they are in Okinawa simply to make a living. He just wants to see all US military bases removed from the island.

Oura Bay, where the endangered species of Dugong feed and where there is a rich marine life that is currently under threat due to the planned expansion of Camp Schwab. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Japanese visitors viewing Futenma Air Base. Futenma Airfield was constructed by the US military following the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. According to Ginowan City records, the joint population of what was then Ginowan Village (now Ginowan City) was 12,994 in 1944. With the end of the war, the airfield became a United States Air Force Far East Air Force installation known as Futenma Air Base, and was used as a support airfield for the nearby Kadena Air Base. The airbase has become a focal point of various political controversies in recent years. Due to population growth and encroachment around the base, concerns surrounding flights over residential areas causing noise, air pollution and endangering public safety also became controversial issues. This was heightened after the August 2004 crash of a Marine Corps CH-53D transport helicopter on the campus of Okinawa International University. The Guardian has stated that the location of MCAS Futenma in Ginowan "would be like having F22s landing in Hyde Park [London]." Ginowan, Okinawa, Japan.

'Save the dugong' bill boards on a coastal road.  Camp Schwab,  a U.S. military base in Henoko is under expansion. Construction will double its current size and will eventually include two airstrips. In order to do this plans to reclaim land in the surrounding sea are afoot. This will permanently damage the coral reefs and the feeding grounds of the dugong, an endangered species. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Etsuko Urashima is a 67 year old writer, originally from Sendai City in Kagoshima. She wears a t-shirt printed with an extract from Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, previously known as the “Peace Constitution”. She met her ex-husband in Amami Oshima when she was active in the counter-cultural environmental movement, and the experience sparked her interest in activism and writing. She’s had five books published since 1995.

When Okinawa was returned to Japan in 1972 from the USA, it was a common belief that many of the bases would be removed from the island. That was never the case, Etsuko claims, the central government provided subsidies to the local government in an effort to appease the local population and still continues this strategy till this day with similar matters.

When Etsuko came to Okinawa she wanted to live away from the urban areas, and surround herself in nature. Around that time, an incident of rape of a 12 year old Japanese girl by a US Marine occurred at Kinjyoj, which sparked a movement in opposition to Futenma Airbase. Subsequently Henoko was suggested as a possible relocation. Etsuko postulates, it is difficult to say whether or not there are any ways for Okinawa to be independent economically without the US military bases. The lands occupied by the bases are usually the most fertile and suitable for agriculture. If the lands are returned to the people local industries could develop further. At the moment, she feels, Okinawa’s development is actually being held back by the bases. She ultimately wants to see all US military bases removed from Okinawa. Etsuko says military bases are incompatible to Okinawa’s desire for peace.

After the Okinawan Sabani ceremony, Sabani being the name for the traditional boat of this region, women go to pay their respects to nature at a beach in Henoko. Despite modernisation Okinawa continues to have deep animist cultural roots, a belief that spirits lie within the mountains, the sea, the trees and animals, in essence the worship of nature. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

 

Japan Coast Guard ensures that protestors do not enter the restricted area recently cordoned off for the construction of the US air base, essentially an expansion of Camp Schwab. Its construction will double the size of the current base, creating a US military mega-base that will include two airstrips. Plans are afoot to reclaim land in the sea to achieve this. This will permanently damage the coral reefs and the feeding grounds of the dugong, an endangered animal.  Frequent recent incursions by activists have resulted in the authorities tripling the number of orange buoys at the restricted perimeter. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Protestors outside the main gate of Camp Schwab. Many of the protestors are elderly people who try to block the entrance using their bodies. Large groups of police come out in force when vehicles carrying building material are about to enter the US Military Base. Each protestor is often removed by several policeman carrying the individual away from the entrance. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Coast guards from Japanese Coast Guard are on a high speed chase pursuing protestors that have entered the new restricted perimeter that is now closed to the public due to the planned expansion of the US military base, Camp Schwab. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Construction of a new tunnel in Nago. Compensation packages are paid to Okinawa by the Japanese Government for the Okinawan's hosting of American military bases. Many activists have highlighted that this has often led to unnecessary construction work in many places on the island. As a result, they fear the environment will be irrevocably damaged.

The landscape and nature in Kayo, north of Henoko. The area is rich with the sounds of various animals that live in the forest. The forest and the two rivers that lead to the sea are an important feature to the ecosystem in and around Oura Bay. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Mr. Takekiyo Toguchi is 58 years old and a road contractor for Nago City. It was 19 years ago he had his first child, the experience made him think about his child’s future. Eventually, 11 years ago, he decided to start the Peace Candle Protest. Unlike other protest groups his happened every Saturday evening and it took on a calmer note. He wanted to find a way to involve his children and the other protests were sometimes too aggressive, this was a gentle way to express their feelings publicly. 

Despite having his road contracting business, he felt he should still express that he was anti-Henoko. Toguchi felt it was important to demonstrate to other similar businesses that it was possible to survive without contracts that involved the expansion of US Military bases. Ironically he has more work now than before. He reasons that many businesses went bust as they waited for too long a time for confirmation on the expansion of the US military base. 

Initially when Toguchi first started the Peace Candle Protest many of his colleagues said he was crazy. They felt he would end up isolating himself, and not surviving because ultimately, he would jeopardise his chances of getting contracts from the government. He says in the first 6 months to a year, life was particularly difficult, his wife ended up supporting the family because he could not get any contracts. Not long ago he was asked to survey the land in Camp Schwab where they would build the airstrips. He was offered 20% of the actual construction cost for the particular job he had to survey. Toguchi turned the job down.

Camp Schwab and Oura Bay. Much of the ocean on the opposite shoreline will become a militarised zone. The orange buoys in the distance mark the perimeter that is now to be off limits to the public. A significant proportion of that area within the zone will be filled and eventually become reclaimed land. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.

Futenma Airfield was constructed by the US military following the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. According to Ginowan City records, the joint population of what was then Ginowan Village (now Ginowan City) was 12,994 in 1944, today it is 94,405. The US military has made the completion of the new base at Henoko a condition for closing the dangerous Marine Corps Futenma Air Station. The crash of a US Marine transport helicopter from Futenma into a university campus, located in a crowded neighborhood, on 13 August 2004 was a terrifying reminder of what is at stake in this struggle. The Guardian has stated that the location of the military air station in Ginowan "would be like having F22s landing in Hyde Park [London]." By linking the closure of Futenma to the construction of the new air base, the Japanese government and the US military have offered Okinawa’s urban residents the intolerable option of choosing whether to sacrifice their own safety, or their environmental heritage. Moving the military functions of Futenma to Henoko, moreover, merely shifts the affliction of the US base to other communities within Okinawa. Ginowan, Okinawa, Japan.

On assignment for Greenpeace.
 Protestors against a new U.S. base in Henoko. Its construction will double the size of the current base, creating a US military mega-base that will include two airstrips. Plans are afoot to reclaim land in the surrounding sea to achieve this. This will permanently damage the coral reefs and the feeding grounds of the dugong, an endangered animal. Preparations for construction has already started and a perimeter has already been set up that restricts access for the general public. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.
 An activist and a journalist monitor developments on the sea as protestors in boats take direct action to impede construction works  for a new U.S. military base within the orange perimeter. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.
 A wide range of topography supports the different ecosystems that continuously exist in Oura Bay; mangrove forests, tidelands, seagrass beds, sandy areas, mud flats and coral reefs. The two rivers from the “Yanbaru” forest run into this area also support the rich marine ecosystem. Large colonies of endangered blue coral (Heliopora coerulea), the last remaining reef on mainland Okinawa, are thriving in this area. The bay is also the feeding ground of the sea mammal, dugong, classified as critically endangered by the Japanese Ministry of Environment. It is a habitat for over 5,300 marine organisms, including 262 endangered species. These facts highlight the importance of this coastal area for biodiversity. The coastal area of Henoko and Oura Bay is on the list of Important Marine Areas in Japan selected by the Japanese Ministry of Environment.  At this very moment, the Japanese government is forcing through a plan to build a new military base, an expansion of Camp Schwab, that will involve reclaiming land from the sea. Should this plan succeed, the rich and biodiverse Oura Bay will be irrevocably endangered. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.
 Mr. Muneyoshi Kayoh and his wife, Yoshiko, in their home. Muneyoshi, 93 years old, is a retired veteran and farmer. He is a popular figure among protesters in Henoko and is affectionately called ‘Grandpa Kayoh’. Originally from Henoko, he has witnessed changes in the environment where he lives: pond snails, geckos, black shrimp, and crabs have all disappeared since his childhood days.   In 1942, at the age of 19, he was enlisted in the Japanese Navy and was stationed at Cam Ranh Bay in French Indochina (Vietnam). His experience with war has affected his view of military bases. He wants to see all military bases out of Okinawa. He is worried about the impact of pesticides and oil on the environment. It was reported that there were ‘burning water wells’ in the Kadena area, because well water was contaminated by a jet fuel leak from the Kadena U.S. Airbase in 1967. The soil, he says, was also contaminated with Agent Orange in Camp Schwab.  There is a local saying that says anyone who lives to the age of 90 is lucky and therefore no longer needs to live longer. However, Mr. Kayoh says he is unable to rest until the problems of Henoko are resolved.
 A tombstone in the surrounding landscape of Henoko. Okinawa, previously the Ryuku Kingdom was independent until four years after the 1868 Meiji Restoration where the Japanese government through military incursions, officially annexed the kingdom and renamed it Ryukyu Han. It subsequently became Okinawa Prefecture of Japan in 1879. Near the end of World War II, in 1945, the US Army and Marine Corps invaded Okinawa with 185,000 troops. A third of the civilian population were killed; a quarter of the civilian population were killed during the 1945 Battle of Okinawa alone. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.
 Ms Yuri Soma is 38 years old and a captain of a protest boat, Henoko Blue. She used to work as a carer for elderly people in Okinawa. During that time she discovered many of the people she tended to had extensive scars on their bodies, injuries from their childhood during the Battle of Okinawa.  During her earlier visits as a protestor in Henoko, she was encouraged to acquire a boating license in order to captain the boats. After passing, her inclination to be more involved in the Henoko protests increased, eventually turning it into a full time occupation. The decision to give up her job as a carer was particularly difficult since she and those she cared for had become attached to each other. However a friend, a bed-ridden old man she cared for, gave her the encouragement she needed  by saying, “I cannot move my body, but you can take action for Henoko.”   She has been an activist for one year. Her main roles are piloting the protest boats and monitoring the actions of Japan Coast Guard and the Okinawa Defence Bureau in Oura Bay. She was featured in ”Ikusaba Nu Tudumi,” a documentary film whose title means, ‘Stop Okinawa becoming a battlefield again.’ The film was screened more than 2,000 times across Japan. For her, the ideal solution would be to eliminate any need for an army.
 The coastline of Henoko. Much of the ocean on the opposite shoreline will become a militarised zone should the expansion of Camp Schwab be successful. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.
 Hiroshi Ashitomi, 69 years old, is a retired public welfare officer in the Okinawa prefectural office. He has been involved in the movement against US military bases on the island for 18 years. He co-leads the Anti-Helicopter Base Council, a citizen’s group, founded in 1997 in Nago City after a plebiscite on the question of whether to build a new base at Henoko. The council has tree planting groups, kayak activists, protest ships and a diving team that monitors the base’s impact on the marine environment. They all have aspirational names like Henoko Blue for the kayak activists and Rainbow Diving Team for the divers.  Hiroshi was born in Tokyo in 1946. His father is originally from Okinawa, and moved from Tokyo to Okinawa when it was still occupied by the US military. When he was a high school student, coinciding with the Vietnam War was a growing movement in Okinawa against the US occupation. He says the Futenma Airbase was created on land where Okinawa people originally lived. Just after the war, the U.S. military seized the land, destroyed villages, and created the airbase.  Hiroshi claims he is not anti-American – he loves jazz and American pop music. But it is the US government’s treatment of the Okinawan people that has incensed him. His idol is a man who led the original anti-base movement on the island, known as the “Gandhi of Okinawa. Shoko Ahagon led a non-violent resistance movement of Japanese peace activists. Ultimately Hiroshi wants to see Futenma Airbase removed from Okinawa, and the construction of the new base at Henoko stopped.
 Protestors in kayaks are restrained by Japanese coast guards swimming in the sea. Technically by law, non-motorised boats are outside the jurisdiction of the Japan Coast Guard, an important reason for protestors to use kayaks. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.
 Mr. Kazunari Nakasone, an eco-tourism guide, is the 36-year old captain of the protest ship, Henoko Blue. He lives in Nago City, Okinawa. Originally from Motobu-cho, near Nago City, he has been working as a trekking guide and sea kayaker for the past 7 years. His main clients are students on school trips, many of whom kayak around Oura Bay and remark on its beauty. When the new base is built, and the sea reclaimed for the military airstrips, the base will essentially be reclaiming what those school children say is beautiful.  When Kazunari started his eco tourism company, there were no floats in the sea to demarcate the exclusion zone of the military base in Oura Bay. He claims the orange floats changed the water flow of the bay. He was shocked to find that 115 large concrete blocks have been placed around the floats to keep them anchored whilst simultaneously destroying the reef on which they rest.  As captain of Henoko Blue, the protest boat belonging to the Anti-Helicopter Base Council, he monitors the movement of Japan Cost Guard and the Okinawa Defense Bureau in Oura Bay. Almost every morning, before getting on the boat, he goes to the morning protests being held in front of the gates of Camp Schwab.   Kazunari does not dislike the US marines on the island because he knows they are in Okinawa simply to make a living. He just wants to see all US military bases removed from the island.
 Oura Bay, where the endangered species of Dugong feed and where there is a rich marine life that is currently under threat due to the planned expansion of Camp Schwab. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.
 Japanese visitors viewing Futenma Air Base. Futenma Airfield was constructed by the US military following the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. According to Ginowan City records, the joint population of what was then Ginowan Village (now Ginowan City) was 12,994 in 1944. With the end of the war, the airfield became a United States Air Force Far East Air Force installation known as Futenma Air Base, and was used as a support airfield for the nearby Kadena Air Base. The airbase has become a focal point of various political controversies in recent years. Due to population growth and encroachment around the base, concerns surrounding flights over residential areas causing noise, air pollution and endangering public safety also became controversial issues. This was heightened after the August 2004 crash of a Marine Corps CH-53D transport helicopter on the campus of Okinawa International University. The Guardian has stated that the location of MCAS Futenma in Ginowan "would be like having F22s landing in Hyde Park [London]." Ginowan, Okinawa, Japan.
 'Save the dugong' bill boards on a coastal road.  Camp Schwab,  a U.S. military base in Henoko is under expansion. Construction will double its current size and will eventually include two airstrips. In order to do this plans to reclaim land in the surrounding sea are afoot. This will permanently damage the coral reefs and the feeding grounds of the dugong, an endangered species. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.
 Etsuko Urashima is a 67 year old writer, originally from Sendai City in Kagoshima. She wears a t-shirt printed with an extract from Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, previously known as the “Peace Constitution”. She met her ex-husband in Amami Oshima when she was active in the counter-cultural environmental movement, and the experience sparked her interest in activism and writing. She’s had five books published since 1995.  When Okinawa was returned to Japan in 1972 from the USA, it was a common belief that many of the bases would be removed from the island. That was never the case, Etsuko claims, the central government provided subsidies to the local government in an effort to appease the local population and still continues this strategy till this day with similar matters.  When Etsuko came to Okinawa she wanted to live away from the urban areas, and surround herself in nature. Around that time, an incident of rape of a 12 year old Japanese girl by a US Marine occurred at Kinjyoj, which sparked a movement in opposition to Futenma Airbase. Subsequently Henoko was suggested as a possible relocation. Etsuko postulates, it is difficult to say whether or not there are any ways for Okinawa to be independent economically without the US military bases. The lands occupied by the bases are usually the most fertile and suitable for agriculture. If the lands are returned to the people local industries could develop further. At the moment, she feels, Okinawa’s development is actually being held back by the bases. She ultimately wants to see all US military bases removed from Okinawa. Etsuko says military bases are incompatible to Okinawa’s desire for peace.
 After the Okinawan Sabani ceremony, Sabani being the name for the traditional boat of this region, women go to pay their respects to nature at a beach in Henoko. Despite modernisation Okinawa continues to have deep animist cultural roots, a belief that spirits lie within the mountains, the sea, the trees and animals, in essence the worship of nature. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.   
 Japan Coast Guard ensures that protestors do not enter the restricted area recently cordoned off for the construction of the US air base, essentially an expansion of Camp Schwab. Its construction will double the size of the current base, creating a US military mega-base that will include two airstrips. Plans are afoot to reclaim land in the sea to achieve this. This will permanently damage the coral reefs and the feeding grounds of the dugong, an endangered animal.  Frequent recent incursions by activists have resulted in the authorities tripling the number of orange buoys at the restricted perimeter. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.
 Protestors outside the main gate of Camp Schwab. Many of the protestors are elderly people who try to block the entrance using their bodies. Large groups of police come out in force when vehicles carrying building material are about to enter the US Military Base. Each protestor is often removed by several policeman carrying the individual away from the entrance. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.
 Coast guards from Japanese Coast Guard are on a high speed chase pursuing protestors that have entered the new restricted perimeter that is now closed to the public due to the planned expansion of the US military base, Camp Schwab. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.
 Construction of a new tunnel in Nago. Compensation packages are paid to Okinawa by the Japanese Government for the Okinawan's hosting of American military bases. Many activists have highlighted that this has often led to unnecessary construction work in many places on the island. As a result, they fear the environment will be irrevocably damaged.
 The landscape and nature in Kayo, north of Henoko. The area is rich with the sounds of various animals that live in the forest. The forest and the two rivers that lead to the sea are an important feature to the ecosystem in and around Oura Bay. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.
 Mr. Takekiyo Toguchi is 58 years old and a road contractor for Nago City. It was 19 years ago he had his first child, the experience made him think about his child’s future. Eventually, 11 years ago, he decided to start the Peace Candle Protest. Unlike other protest groups his happened every Saturday evening and it took on a calmer note. He wanted to find a way to involve his children and the other protests were sometimes too aggressive, this was a gentle way to express their feelings publicly.   Despite having his road contracting business, he felt he should still express that he was anti-Henoko. Toguchi felt it was important to demonstrate to other similar businesses that it was possible to survive without contracts that involved the expansion of US Military bases. Ironically he has more work now than before. He reasons that many businesses went bust as they waited for too long a time for confirmation on the expansion of the US military base.   Initially when Toguchi first started the Peace Candle Protest many of his colleagues said he was crazy. They felt he would end up isolating himself, and not surviving because ultimately, he would jeopardise his chances of getting contracts from the government. He says in the first 6 months to a year, life was particularly difficult, his wife ended up supporting the family because he could not get any contracts. Not long ago he was asked to survey the land in Camp Schwab where they would build the airstrips. He was offered 20% of the actual construction cost for the particular job he had to survey. Toguchi turned the job down.
 Camp Schwab and Oura Bay. Much of the ocean on the opposite shoreline will become a militarised zone. The orange buoys in the distance mark the perimeter that is now to be off limits to the public. A significant proportion of that area within the zone will be filled and eventually become reclaimed land. Henoko, Okinawa, Japan.
 Futenma Airfield was constructed by the US military following the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. According to Ginowan City records, the joint population of what was then Ginowan Village (now Ginowan City) was 12,994 in 1944, today it is 94,405. The US military has made the completion of the new base at Henoko a condition for closing the dangerous Marine Corps Futenma Air Station. The crash of a US Marine transport helicopter from Futenma into a university campus, located in a crowded neighborhood, on 13 August 2004 was a terrifying reminder of what is at stake in this struggle. The Guardian has stated that the location of the military air station in Ginowan "would be like having F22s landing in Hyde Park [London]." By linking the closure of Futenma to the construction of the new air base, the Japanese government and the US military have offered Okinawa’s urban residents the intolerable option of choosing whether to sacrifice their own safety, or their environmental heritage. Moving the military functions of Futenma to Henoko, moreover, merely shifts the affliction of the US base to other communities within Okinawa. Ginowan, Okinawa, Japan.