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Monthly Archives: July 2011

“Henoko Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Lawsuit” plaintiffs show dugong video at July 16, 2011 court hearing

After six decades of U.S. military operations in the region, fewer than 50 critically endangered dugongs struggle to survive in Okinawa — once known as the “Galápagos of the East” for its rich biodiversity. Following a 1996 U.S. proposal to destroy Oura Bay, a principal dugong habitat, to make way for massive military construction, environmentalists worldwide turned to legal channels to address the threat to the beloved sea mammal's habitat. In 2003, Okinawan, Japanese and U.S. environmentalists successfully collaborated in a lawsuit seeking to halt the proposal.. In 2008, a U.S. federal judge ruled against the U.S. Department of Defense, requiring it to consider impacts of proposed military construction in Oura Bay on the dugong to avoid or mitigate harm. In response, the U.S. military devised an alternative, yet equally destructive plan, to elude compliance with the court ruling. In turn, 622 plaintiffs — seeking to stop additional U.S. military destruction in Okinawa — initiated another legal action. They brought a class action suit in a Japanese court against the Japanese Defense Bureau's arm in Okinawa, the Okinawan Defense Bureau. Their complaint challenges the legality and scientific validity of the Bureau’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Hideki Yoshikawa, international director of Save the Dugong Campaign Center, reports on the 12th court hearing of the case at Okinawa Outreach, a new blog from Okinawa.

David Vine at Mainichi Hall in Tokyo on July 29, 2011

American University anthropologist David Vine, a member of the Network for Okinawa, will be on a speaking tour in Japan before joining other participants at the Dialogue Under Occupation conference in Okinawa from August 4-8, 2011. If you live near or in Tokyo, don't miss his talk on July 29th at 6:30 p.m. at Mainichi Hall.

“Moving from War to Peace in East Asia” workshop & candlelight vigil in Washington D.C. on July 27, 2011

On the anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice on July 27, Washington, D.C. will be the site of a workshop and candlelight vigil supporting peace for Korea and East Asia: "Moving from War to Peace in East Asia Workshop" 5:30 to 7 p.m., Wednesday on July 27, 2011 at the Institute for Policy Studies and a Candlelight Vigil: "Convert Korean War Armistice to Peace Treaty" on the same date, from 7:30 pm to 9 pm in front of the White House (Lafayette Square).

John Feffer: Jim Webb’s Parting Shots (on Okinawa & more)

In this June 16, 2011 tribute to Senator Jim Webb, John Feffer reflects on the Webb-Levin-McCain alternative to the Obama administration's plan to build another U.S. military base in Okinawa: In mid-May, he teamed up with Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ) to issue a statement offering an alternative to the current U.S. plan to build another military base in Okinawa and expand the existing facilities on Guam. The Obama administration has been so hell-bent on creating another U.S. base on Okinawa, over the objections of the vast majority of the citizens of the Japanese island, that it went so far as to precipitate the resignation of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama when he had the temerity to balk at the economic and political costs. At a time when the administration has asked the Pentagon to contribute to overall budget cutting, the price tag for the reorganization of U.S. force structure in the Pacific is both enormous (over $27 billion) and, according to a recent GAO report, consistently underestimated. Webb's alternative – moving capabilities from the aging Futenma Marine air base to the nearby Kadena Air Force base – is not ideal, but it's at least a starting point for discussion. But the Obama administration, which has prided itself on its ability to listen, has closed its ears both to Okinawans and the Webb-Levin-McCain initiative.

Ryukyu Shimpo: Okinawa Prefectural Assembly unanimously adopts a resolution of protest against Osprey aircraft deployment & demands the withdrawal of the deployment plan

On July 14, 2011, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly unanimously passed a resolution and statement of protest against and demand of withdrawal of plans to deploy the MV-22 Osprey aircraft to U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. This is the first time that the Okinawa assembly has adopted a resolution and statement of protest against U.S. military Osprey deployment. Read this and related articles at the Ryukyu Shimpo, which is again providing comprehensive English-language coverage on Okinawa.

Katrina Vanden Heuvel: Around the Globe, US Military Bases Generate Resentment, Not Security

Katrina Vanden Heuvel, publisher and editor of The Nation, a progressive news magazine, spotlights The Network for Okinawa in her June 13, 2011 article discussing the U.S. system of 865 military bases worldwide that costs American taxpayers $102 billion annually (not including the 135 newly constructed bases in Iraq and Afghanistan): The plain truth is that the staggering resources we spend to support an empire of bases isn’t making us more secure. Instead, they fuel resentment and consume resources desperately needed to invest here at home, as well as targeted development aid that could be used more wisely and efficiently by non-military experts.

Int. Women’s Network Against Militarism (IWNAM)’s Statement on Relief & Recovery in Japan: U.S. Should Decline Monies from Japan’s “Sympathy Budget”

Women and womens' organizations that address militarism within regional and global frameworks are a major part of both the Network for Okinawa and Japan-US Citizens for Okinawa Network (JUCON), the Network's partner in Japan. Some of these members include Army Colonel (ret.) Ann Wright; Women for Genuine Security; and Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence. This year, in the wake of Japan's triple disaster and ongoing nuclear catastrophe (the world's most costly industrial accident), the International Women's Network Against Militarism (IWNAM) issued a statement on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) in support of Japanese taxpayers who, more than ever, are unable to afford the expensive underwriting of U.S. military expansion plans in Okinawa and Guam. In 2009, global military spending was estimated at $1,531 billion, an increase of 6% from 2008 and 49% from 2000. On April 12, 2011, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) will release its calculations of global military spending for 2010. We estimate that this figure could reach $1.6 trillion. We join peace groups, budget priority activists, arms control advocates, and concerned citizens the world over in public demonstrations, solidarity actions and awareness raising events to call attention to the disparity between bountiful global investments in war-making and the worldwide neglect of social priorities. The IWNAM demands that U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration: 1) Decline the Japanese “Sympathy Budget.” 2) End the military build up in Okinawa, Guam, Hawaii and other territories. 3) Stop the justification of militarism in times of natural disasters. 4) Fund alternative jobs that end dependence on militarism.