At the April 25th sit-in-on-the-sea, there was a solidarity rally on the beach, and canoe members gave speeches.

One of the members is a youth that always nimbly slips through the Japan Coast Guard toward the construction site, sings songs on the Japan Coast Guard’s off-limits rubber boat, uses all the little time he spends on land conducting a sit-in in front of the gate, and then in the p.m. goes back out to sea. He does things at his own pace and laughs airily, with a natural manner like that of a wild animal. Upon listening to his speech, some of the canoe members were utterly struck by the realization that this usually reserved and quiet youth had in reality been bearing such thoughts and emotions, and were holding back tears. Below is a transcript of the speech. By all means please read through it.

“Everybody, when this rally is over please rush as quickly as you can to the gate. The grandpas and grandmas of Okinawa are desperately participating in the sit-in there. I want to energize the protest at sea in the same way. If we use today as a starting point, and day after day gather as 20 canoes or as 30 canoes, we can stop it like today. Today, a lady [nick]named Pretty stopped it, even though she is kinda you know like not that good at rowing [a canoe]. Even if you’re not that good it’s fine, probably. Even if you can’t swim it’s fine. I can’t swim either, for real. Even if you can’t swim, maybe you’re good at running, or good at singing songs, because different people have different strengths, and I think the important part is to try hard to do what you can. Sometimes I think Henoko Blue is such a great team, and sometimes I also think it would be better if it kind of wasn’t like this or that, but Henoko Blue is by no means an organization like the military that demands discipline, and stuff like frailty, it’s OK to show stuff like that, probably. Today is April 25th, so in three days, it will be the 28th, [two years from] the day she [a 20-year-old woman] was raped and murdered. An army is a kind of organization that emphasizes masculinity. On the other hand, we’ve thrown away anything like masculinity, and we’re frail, we sleep like dugongs, we eat grass, we’re that kind of creature. Like dugongs we also live freely, we protest freely, and we stop freely the seawall construction. I think I want to continue doing those sorts of things. Everyone, let’s persevere so that this Matsuda nu Hama Beach doesn’t get turned into a construction yard, and we can describe it as a beach where you can see dugongs.

Earlier it was said that the construction work is [only] 6% [complete], but at these Henoko waters, the seawall construction at the landfill area surrounded by K1, K2, K3, K4, and N5 is already over 70% done. And while some people are saying that “it [the construction] is progressing quickly” because the waters are shallow, or that it’s sham construction work, we should also keep in mind that the Henoko area of ocean is already in a desperate state. It is said that the N3, K4, and N5 area near Henokozaki will be the very first site for the reclamation, and it is said that land reclamation work will begin in July.

If the landfill is completed, if once destroyed, the sea won’t come back. Huge quantities of green laver will be generated, like with the coastal wetland at Awase, and it might no longer be possible to gather mozuku and precious shellfish. The dugongs might not be able to return. While we face that reality, if each and every one of us thinks about how to keep on energizing our protests, we should be able to use today as a starting point to see some sort of new beginning. Everybody, let’s do our very best!

April 25, 2018

Original post (Japanese)
English translation by I.K.