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URGENT: Henoko protest leader injured in underwater attack.


As nonviolent resistance to the new U.S. military sea base construction in Henoko, Okinawa, continues, Japanese government aggression against protesters has taken an ugly turn.

On July 21, Natsume Taira, one of the protest leaders, was almost killed in an incident involving a diver from a company contracted by the Defense Facility Administration's Naha Bureau. The Bureau has been pressing ahead with the installation of seabed equipment for what it calls a "pre-survey" -- an activity legal experts say violates Japan's Environmental Impact Assessment Law.

According to the Okinawa Times, the incident occurred when Natsume, a pastor, was diving one kilometer offshore of Henoko fishing port. He was using his body to shield the groundsill of a piece of equipment from three contract divers. As of the divers locked his arm in a full nelson, Natsume found himself unable to breathe. Natsume managed to slipped away from his attacker and burst to the surface. On examination of a video shot by protesters, it appeared the contract diver had closed the valve on Natsume's air supply. Natsume was rushed to hospital and treated for decompression sickness. "I believe the worst is over," he said in a statement to supporters.

Responding to this serious aggression, Okinawa-based groups Citizen's Coalition for Peace and Conference Opposing Heliport Construction called a press conference and released an urgent statement.

Although this is not the first time Henoko protesters have experienced violence from Japanese government forces, Natsume told the Ryukyu Shinpo newspaper, "They have crossed a line. I will consider a criminal compliant against this act."

Hikaru Kasahara (Asian Peace Alliance [APA] Japan)

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WE STRONGLY CALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT
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1. If you have a media list, please send it to APA Japan (ppsg@jca.apc.org) as we would like to send information about Henoko to international media.

2. Email, Fax, Phone statements in support of Natsume and the Henoko protest:

Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF)
Tel: +81-3-3268-3111 Email: mso-cadv@ic.jmsdf.go.jp
Japan Defense Facility Administration Agency (Naha Bureau)
Email: mso-cadv@ic.jmsdf.go.jp Tel: +81-98-868-0174
Fax: +81-98-866-3375

Ministry of Defense
Tel: +81-3-5366-3111
Email: infomod@mod.go.jp

Japan Coast Guard, 11 Regional Headquarters
Tel: +81-98-867-0118 E-mail:soumu-11@kaiho.mlit.go.jp

U.S. Councilor Office, Naha, Okinawa
+81-98-876-4211

U.S. Embassy in Tokyo
Tel: +3-3224-5000

3. Send your solidarity message to the people of Henoko:

Heiwa Shimin Renrakukai (Citizens Coalition for Peace, Naha, Okinawa)
Fax:+81-98-885 8230

Conference Opposing Heliport Construction (Nago, Okinawa)
Fax: +81-980-53-6992

4. Letters to the Editor:

Yomiuri
https://app.yomiuri.co.jp/form/index.php
Asahi
http://www.asahi.com/reference/form.html
Mainichi
https://form.mainichi.co.jp/toiawase/
Nihon Keizai (Nihon Business)
webmaster@nikkei.co.jp
Sankei
u-service@sankei.co.jp
Tokyo Shimbun
https://cgi2.chunichi.co.jp/tko/hotline/form.shtml
Nikkan Gendai
http://gendai.net/?m=infotoiawase
Shimbun Akahata
hensyukoe@jcp.or.jp
Kyodo Tsushin
feedback@kyodonews.jp
Jiji Tsushin
https://www2.jiji.com/f/enq/form.php?pid=company
NHK [less than 400 words] https://www.nhk.or.jp/css/goiken/bangumi.html Nihon TV https://www1.ntv.co.jp/staff/form.html Fuji TV https://wwws.fujitv.co.jp/safe/red_mpl/response/res_form.cgi?
TV Asahi Hodo Station
http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/hst/contents/opinion/index_see.html
TV Tokyo
https://www2.tv-tokyo.co.jp/main/goiken.php

Okinawa Newspapers (less than 400 words)
Okinawa Times opinion@okinawatimes.co.jp
Ryukyu Shimpo koe@ryuukyushimpo.co.jp