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Monthly Archives: January 2011

14 U.S. Marine amphibious assault tanks disembark at Henoko beach in the middle of the night

The Henoko Hama Tsushin blog posted this on Jan. 27: "When I went to the beach after dawn today, I saw fourteen U.S. Marine amphibious assault tanks lined on Henoko beach which we Okinawans cherish so much."

A Walk Along the Sea in Okinawa – Henoko & Oura Bay: Exhibition of Photography by Makishi Osamu, Osaka, Jan. 27-30

The first annual Save the Dugong Campaign photography exhibition opens today at the Cafe/Gallery Cassiopeia in Osaka. The Campaign hopes the exhibition will spread awareness about the fragile beauty of Henoko and Oura Bay, the habitat of the critically endangered Okinawan Dugong (the Okinawan National Monument) and other rare species. This biodiverse area and its inhabitants will be destroyed if the U.S. military proceeds with the construction of a proposed military base that Okinawans have been protesting for over fifteen years.

Solidarity into Action: Workshops on Effective Student Activism

The public is welcome to attend "Solidarity into Action: Workshops on Effective Student Activism," a workshop that will share information about social justice based student trips, including a program in Okinawa that concluded this month. Participants are invited to inform students about their organizations; help students connect their global alternative break experience to the local D.C. community; and recruit volunteers for their organizations. The event will be held Saturday, January 29th 2011 from 11:00 am- 2pm at American University in Washington, D.C.

New Year 2011, Okinawa and the Future of East Asia

Satoko Norimatsu, Gavan McCormack, and Mark Selden report on the December 19, 2010 "Where is Okinawa going?" forum cosponsored by The Asia-Pacific Journal (APJ) and Okinawa University. Speakers addressed environmental, geopolitical, and economic issues and engaged in discussion with nearly 200 participants on goals and ideals while addressing contemporary challenges to Okinawa and the region. Their article charts the Okinawan challenge to last year's failure of leadership in Japan. The authors assert that Okinawan commitment to democracy and peace brought sense to a region spellbound by fear and at risk of falling into a downward spiral of militarization. Those who frame the Okinawan struggle for democracy as simply "local" are mistaken. Instead, the authors argue Okinawan resistance to military hegemony is national, regional, and global in nature, with the future of "Japanese democracy and US strategic planning for its empire of bases across the Pacific in the balance." They conclude: "In 2011 the best hope for peace and democracy in Japan and throughout the region is the continuing success of the Okinawan struggle in stalemating US-Japan plans for base reorganization and expansion."

US for Okinawa’s Statement of Support for Takae, Okinawa

US for Okinawa, a Network for Okinawa coalition member, sent the following statement of support for Takae to the U.S. Ambassador of Japan, asking that the U.S. military halt construction of more Osprey heliports in its war training ground in Okinawa's Yanbaru Forest, home of unique, endangered species. Their letter included the following points: ...Such destruction further destroys the important biodiversity of the region, endangers the lives of local residents, and shamefully continues to undermine democracy in Okinawa. As U.S. citizens, we call upon our country to use its great power to foster global environmental sustainability—not to blatantly destroy the forests, waters and wildlife of other countries under the guise of “security"...

Postcard from Takae

A U.S. war training ground occupies a quarter of biodiverse Yanbaru forest on the northern tip of Okinawa. The U.S. military trained there during Vietnam War, and now wants to build six helipads for dangerous V-22 Osprey aircraft within two of the best-preserved areas in the forest, near Takae village. Takae residents have engaged in a sit-in since 2007 to protest the construction of military heliports in Yanbaru Forest, home of numerous endangered species. This month Okinawan peace and democracy groups are demonstrating against the restart of construction and the U.S. helicopter destruction of a sit-in tent. Jon Mitchell's article describes the ongoing plight and democratic action of the residents of the small village known for "Slow Life" culture, who have been besieged by U.S. war training for decades.