Nearly 1,000 demonstrators raised banners and listened to speeches near a U.S. military base in Okinawa on Saturday to protest against plans to move a helicopter unit there.
The planned move - from one part of the island to another - is part of an effort toward consolidation of the U.S. military presence on Okinawa, which contains the bulk of American bases in Japan.
The helicopter unit is scheduled to be transferred to the air base at Kadena from the Futenma Marine Corps air base, which the U.S. military has agreed to close under a plan to return 20 percent of the land it uses on Okinawa.
At the rally, Tokujitsu Miyagi, Kadena’s top administrator, promised to oppose any increase in U.S. military activity in the town. Police said the protest was peaceful.