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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Message from the  International Women’s Network Against Militarism to Peoples Movement for No Naval Base on Jeju! 

Suzuyo Takazato, director of Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, made this statement about U.S. military bases following the 1995 gang-rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl by two marines and a sailor: “Fifty-three years is long enough. We have really suffered. Prostitution and rape are the military system’s outlets for pent up aggression and methods of maintaining control and discipline – the target being local community women.” It's now been 69 years that Okinawans have suffered from the injustice of seized farms, multiple forms of violence, community degradation, and environmental destruction wrought by U.S. bases. In hope of staving a similar fate for Jeju Islanders, Ms. Takazato joins her colleagues at the International Women’s Network Against Militarism (IWNAM) in this statement supporting Jeju Island residents who are challenging the state seizure and planned destruction of their farmland and a biodiverse coast to make way for a massive naval base to house warships.

Okinawa Outreach: Citizens’ Network for Biodiversity in Okinawa demands the suspension of construction of U.S. military helipads in biodiverse Yanbaru Forest

Okinawa Outreach, a new blog edited by Okinawan scholars and activists, offers news, photos, & analysis directly from Okinawa. Its July reports describe efforts by the Citizens’ Network for Biodiversity in Okinawa (Okinawa BD) to obtain answers from the Okinawan Defense Bureau (the Japan Defense Bureau's branch in Okinawa) regarding U.S. military plans for training accident-prone military Osprey aircraft in biodiverse Yanbaru Forest. The Citizens’ Network for Biodiversity in Okinawa demanded a halt to the construction of helipads which the U.S. wants to locate in one of the most well-preserved areas of the forest, a habitat for numerous endangered species unique to northern Okinawa. Okinawa Outreach also provided updates to the Okinawan Defense Bureau's November 2008 legal action against 15 residents of the Takae community (including a child), who, since July 2007, had been conducting a peaceful sit-in protest against the helipad construction on the prefectural road near the construction sites. Many consider this frivolous litigation, a SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) action, intended to intimidate and silence critics). The next hearing is scheduled for the end of August.

The Aug. 13, 2004 U.S. Marine Helicopter Crash at Okinawa International University

Today is the 7th anniversary of a U.S. Marine heavy assault transport helicopter crash into the Okinawa International University administration building. Despite the swift response by Okinawan police and local medical rescue to the injured troops on civilian territory, the Marines who arrived later cordoned off the university crash site and refused admittance to Okinawan authorities, raising serious sovereignty issues. Former Prime Minister Koizumi refused to meet with Ginowan Mayor Yoichi Iha Yoichi and Okinawan Governor Keiichi Inamine when they traveled to Tokyo to discuss the crash. After the crash, Ginowan City produced a video report of the event for worldwide dissemination; The Asia-Pacific Journal published a translation of a report by Yoshio Sanechika, first published at Shukan Kinyobi, a leading Japanese weekly news magazine; and faculty at Okinawa International University organized a comprehensive website, No Fly Zone to provide Okinawan perspectives on the crash.

Dialogue Under Occupation conference in Okinawa, Aug 4-8, 2011

Even if you can't attend, please check out the program, website, and blog for the Dialogue Under Occupation conference in Okinawa, Aug 4-8, 2011.