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Monthly Archives: April 2011

22,000 Plaintiffs bring the third Kadena Noise Suit, largest class action in Japanese court history

22,000 plaintiffs filed what they call the "Third Kadena Noise Suit" yesterday, the anniversary of the signing of The San Francisco Peace Treaty and the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. Their's is the largest class action ever in Japanese court history.

Ryukyu Shimpo: “Open Letter to Mr. Carl Levin”

In an open letter to Senators Carl Levin and Jim Webb, the Ryukyu Shimpo asks them "to show the true worth of American democracy" and "to respect the will of the people of Okinawa and informs them: "April 28 is the date when the United States and Japan concluded both the San Francisco Peace Treaty and the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty in 1952. With this, Allied Occupation forces withdrew from Japan and Japan attained independence. The San Francisco Peace Treaty determined that Okinawa and Amami Oshima would be separated from the mainland islands of Japan and put under the control of the U.S. military."

Okinawans urge Senator Carl Levin to use U.S. taxpayer dollars to create jobs at home, not to build a new base in Okinawa

Senators Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Jim Webb, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee and member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, are visiting Okinawa today and tomorrow. Okinawans greeted the senators with signs urging them to use U.S. taxpayer money not to build a new military base in Okinawa, but to create jobs at home. The official U.S. unemployment rate is over 8%.

1st anniversary of historic Okinawa mass rally for closure of Futenma & against “replacement” base at environmentally sensitive Henoko & Oura Bay

Today is the 1st anniversary of the historic mass rally for the closure of US Marine Air Station Futenma and against "replacement" mega-base construction in environmentally sensitive Henoko and Oura Bay. In conjunction with Earth Day, worldwide supporters held solidarity rallies in San Francisco, Hawaii, and elsewhere in Japan (including Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Oita, Nagano, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagano, and Ueda). Labor Beat's video of the mass rally and PressTV's video report remind us of the unanimous feeling of the people of Okinawa.

Okinawa Governor Nakaima: Proposed “Futenma replacement” base at Henoko impossible

Next week Governor Hirokazu Nakaima will reiterate to U.S. Senator Carl Levin the same request he and a group of Okinawan mayors from base-hosting communities handed to Prime Minister Kan on Feb. 8. of this year: Close U.S. Marine Air Station Futenma and cancel the plan for a "Futenma replacement" base at Henoko and biodiverse Oura Bay. The governor’s request to Sen. Levin will be following a 15-year sit-in protest at Henoko; a 3-year protest at Takae in Yanbaru Forest; numerous statements, plebiscites, resolutions, elections, and annual mass protest rallies across Okinawa— all demanding the closure of Futenma and the cancellation of plans for further U.S. military construction in Okinawa. During today's announcement to the Japanese media, the governor wondered why the U.S. government has not yet been able to understand that new base construction is "impossible." Washington knows the environmentally devastating base plan involves the destruction of the only habitat of the endangered and beloved Okinawa dugong.

“Smearing Japan” (latest on former diplomat Kevin Maher’s insults towards Okinawans)

Kevin Maher, who described Okinawans as "extortionist" and "lazy" has resurfaced. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, the former head of the U.S. State Department's Japan desk said his comments were invented by American University students who attended a now notorious lecture last December by Maher in preparation for their study-trip to Okinawa. The insults were made public in March, causing a furor throughout Okinawa. Subsequently, Maher stepped down from his post. After the 3/11/11 disasters, Maher joined U.S. "Operation Tomodachi." He will be meeting 30 Japanese politicians from Japan when they visit Washington D.C. from May 1 to May 5. The contingent includes Okinawan MP Mikio Shimoji, whose family construction business benefits from military contracts. In this article for Foreign Policy in Focus, American University professor David Vine rebuts Maher's denial with recorded notes from the lecture, including direct quotes in which Maher describes Japanese society as an "extortionist culture," adding that "Okinawans. . .are masters at this."

Is another Pacific War inevitable? John Feffer says “No” & brings clarity & hope to the issue of excessive military spending in the Asia-Pacific

Some pundits tell us the U.S. is going to war with a "rising China" in the near future. That's why they want to spend more on missile defense surrounding China, military expansion in South Korea and Guam, and another U.S. military mega-base on Okinawa (although 30 facilities already exist on 20% of the island). But is another Pacific War inevitable? John Feffer says "No" and brings clarity and hope to a discussion on excessive global military spending and how we can stop the march towards more wars in this great National Public Radio (NPR) interview, with good audience Q&A. Feffer, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), the D.C.-based think tank that sponsors the Network for Okinawa, explains how the Global Day of Action on Military Spending came into being and how we can reenvision our common future.

Okinawa Network for Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) Statement

The Okinawa Network for Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) object to Tokyo's "Sympathy Budget" subsidies to the U.S. military amid an unprecedented crisis caused by earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster. They urge the Japanese and U.S. governments to stop their planned destruction of biodiverse Oura Bay to build a U.S. Marine mega-base and to stop destroying one of the best-preserved areas of Yanbaru Forest to build helipads for jungle training purposes: We urge the US government, as our “Tomodachi" or "Friend”, to decline our sympathy budget, if it truly wishes to help Japan’s recovery and rebuilding. We also urge both Japanese and US governments to stop further militarizing Okinawa: the base construction in Henoko/Oura Bay and the helipad construction in Takae. Please show them your support by posting comments at their website!

Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) event: Living Along the Fenceline screening today in San Francisco

The Women for Genuine Security, an organizational member of the Network for Okinawa, is sponsoring a screening of filmmaker Lina Hoshino's Living Along the Fenceline tonight in San Francisco. The groundbreaking 80-minute documentary tells the stories of seven women whose lives have been affected by the US military presence in their backyards. Their individual journeys of strength and courage represent the unheard stories of communities across the globe that live alongside US bases and bear tragic hidden costs to their land, culture, and spirit. They are teachers, organizers, and healers, moved by love and respect for the land, and hope for the next generation. One of the storytellers is Yumi Tomita (pseudonym), an Okinawan woman in her late 30s. She was raped by US soldiers when she was in high school. It has taken her many years to cope with the shame and trauma of this assault. She finally began to speak of her ordeal in 1995, when a 12-year-old Okinawan girl was kidnapped and raped by U.S. Marines.

Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) in Okinawa

"Friends" don't destroy eco-systems and take taxpayer money during natural disaster and nuclear crises. The Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) in Okinawa focuses on Okinawan humanitarian and ecological values that prioritize life. Peace talks by Ms. Suzuyo Takazato of Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, Mr. Hiroshi Ashitomi of the Committee against Heliport Construction, and the Elders of Save Life Society.