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Friends of the Earth International expresses its deep concern over the latest news from Japan regarding the arrest and long detention of anti-US military base protesters in Okinawa.

Hiroji Yamashiro – chair of the Okinawa Peace Movement Centre and a leader of the protest – was arrested more than 70 days and he remains in detention, together with other protesters. Local groups and individuals – including those who are still detained – have followed the rules of non-violent and peaceful protest against the construction of the US military facilities in Okinawa for many years, with the objective of protecting the forest, sea and their peaceful lives.

The situation of Mr. Yamashiro is especially worrisome. He has had a serious illness in the past, and therefore needs regular medical checkups. However, he has been denied all communication, even with his family, and is only allowed contact with his lawyers.

FoE Japan is currently working on this issue and supporting the campaign to release Mr. Yamashiro and the other protesters.

FoE International is deeply concerned about such a long detention and mistreatment of protesters. Local communities are against the construction of more US military facilities in Okinawa, but the Japanese government is forcibly continuing with the construction. That means degradation of the environment, violation of human rights and destruction of democracy.

Friends of the Earth International stands in solidarity with those who oppose the US military base construction while struggling for peace and justice, and requests immediate freedom for Hiroji Yamashiro and the other protesters.

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