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Okinawans Demonstrate at Site of Planned U.S. Airfield

January 19, 1987

TOKYO (AP) _ More than 300 Okinawan opponents of a planned new U.S. military aircraft training field rallied Sunday near the site in northern Okinawa, police said.

The demonstration came a day after protesters skirmished with nine U.S. military guards at the site, U.S. authorities said.

An official of the Okinawa Prefectural Police said there were no reports of any violence at Sunday’s rally.

Master Gunnery Sgt. Dale Hunter, chief of the U.S. Forces Japan Media Liaison Office, said two Marine military policemen suffered minor injuries when they were assaulted by some 100 demonstrators Saturday at the site.

The Marines were providing security for U.S. Navy Construction Battalion construction workers, he said.

After Sunday’s rally, Isamu Miyagi, chief of Kunigami village near the site, said the villagers had adopted a resolution to continue their struggle until the U.S. military gives up plans to build a training facility there for vertical takeoff and landings by Harrier combat aircraft.

Miyagi said the facility would endanger wildlife, and that Kunigami residents were also concerned about noise.

Of 46,000 U.S. troops in Japan, 30,000 are stationed on Okinawa. The island, site of bloody fighting in World War II, was under U.S. administration until it was returned to Japanese rule in 1972.

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