Today I went swimming in Oura Bay, a body of deep blue water exposed to the Pacific Ocean about half- way up the island on the thickly forested east coast. Bobbing in the water would be a better term than swimming. I felt like a jelly fish, floating about in shallow water about 40 meters (we don't say yards here) from the shoreline where the bottom drops out from the coral-sand floor of the bay. I back-paddled a bit to make sure I could stand in the gentle surge. I gazed at a rocky coastline wrapped mangrove. I saw helicopters in the sky.
On the demilitarized side of the little Henoko fence a gaggle of protesters have set up an encampment under a large white canvas tent where they educate visitors on the environmental and social impact of the airstrip. A V-shaped runway would be built in the middle of an algae forest on landfill running along the beach front and fishing harbor. It would ruin a lot more than the view
Teru Onishi, a former high school teacher from the area, chairs the Nago Peace Committee and runs the Henoko protest operation that attracts activists from across Japan. He is a calm man who looks very tired. But he got revved up during our short conversation about the air base and ended in a flourish. “They’re going to build a fortress for the devil,” he said, pointing out to sea. “A fortress for the devil.”