We started the day at Miura City Hall. Perhaps by now, one could imagine the typical program of opening and closing ceremonies we do everyday. There would be messages from the leader of hibakushas living in the town, the local gensuikyo, the city / town representatives, and sometimes leaders of groups from different sectors of the society.
The through Peace Marchers (of the entire course and the prefecture) would also be introduced and sometimes be asked to deliver a short message. 🙂 The chant leader / emcee of the day will also be introduced. To warm up the audience, the emcee or Kasakisan would lead the renshuu (practice) before we start. The Peace Marchers of the day would usually smile with delight when they learn about the ‘iine’ and ‘imadeshoo’ chants. Those two words are quite popular expressions at present. Here’s a sample shot of our renshuu everyday.
As we walked uphill along a main road, we passed by this building below.
My fellow peace marchers told me that the building with a large orange block on top the is where the hibaku maguro (radioactive tunas) caught after the Bikini Incident were buried. There are around 3 apartment buildings on the site.
One man approached us during dinner and said he remembered about the apartments and the hibaku maguro when he saw the Peace March as he was driving near the area. He thanked us for reminding him.
By 330pm we reached Yokosuka City. A young hibakusha gave a speech. He is 75 to 76 years old. He said there are 231 hibakushas living today in Yokosuka city and 6 of them were with us that afternoon.
Before our last stop, we passed by a US Naval Base in Yokosuka. We gathered at the opposite side of the raod as we delivered the imadeshoo and iine chants. Compared to the past few days, we had more real audience from the base this time. I even saw a soldier taking down notes from our banners in between hiding behind an elevator.
We finished at the Yokosuka City Rinkai Park where Kasakisan introduced Masanori Yamazaki. Yamazaki san is a widower. On January 3, 2006 his 56 year old wife, Yoshie Sato, was beaten to death by a drunk American soldier. He was trying to steal 15000 yen from his wife. She died of internal bleeding. The American Navy airman ia William Oliver Reese.
They told me that there are other instances where a drunk soldier punched open a glass window of a school, went inside and slept there. He was found sleeping there by the young students in the morning. Not a very good thing to see in a school.
One famous case around Japan is the rape of a 12 year old school girl in Okinawa by three US soldier back in 1995. Protests around Japan became very strong and an air base was eventually relocated to a less populated area in Okinawa.
I browsed for William Oliver Reese over the internet and this is an excerpt of one of the many articles I found about the case:
Reese, a New Jersey native assigned to the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier, admitted killing 56-year-old Yoshie Sato after drinking all night at a local bar. He stopped Sato on the street, asked directions to nearby Yokosuka Naval Base, then tried to grab her purse.
When Sato resisted and screamed for help, Reese dragged her into a nearby building entrance and beat her for 11 minutes, “throwing her against a concrete wall and stomping on her belly with sport shoes a number of times,” presiding Judge Masazo Ogura told the court.
“The way she was beaten shows he has no piece of respect for human life,” Ogura said. “The ruptured organs, the bodily damage shows the extremely violent nature of the assault.”
Reese took 15,000 yen, about $130, from Sato’s purse and returned to the base after stopping off at a convenience store. Sato, a Yokosuka native, died at a local hospital later that day.
After the March, Hideo Ishizawa brought us to a remote small green park overlooking the Naval base in Yokosuka. Hideo san went to a study tour of the converted military bases in Philippines last year in November – the 20th anniversary of the Rejection of the US Bases Treaty. Many people in Japan and Korea admire the Philippines for this feat. This time, it was him giving us a mini-study tour of a base in Japan.
He showed a map indicating the area of US and Japanese military properties. The larger and outer portion is US property, while the inner smaller area is Japanese. We were standing on a Japanese property.
The photo below is the view from where we were standing. The ships on the foreground (middle ofmwater) are Japanese military property connected to the land area where we stood. The back ground including the mountain, and the other side of the photo is american base property. Hideo san explained that around 60,000 Japanese personnel working inside the US base are paid for by the Japanese government. Some are inside to build housing for the people inside the base.
Hideo san explaining to us about the US naval base in Yokosuka. Beside him is our fellow Peace Marcher in Kanagawa Prefecture, Shiyoze Yasuo. He walked the Peace March in Kanagawa with my mother 5 years ago. He has been a through Peace Marcher. This year he joins the Tokyo to Kanagawa leg and then walk with us again in Hiroshima as the doctor advised him not to take the whole of Peace March this year. A very energetic man. 🙂