Announcing the January 2012 Washington Delegation from Okinawa:
“Making Okinawan Voices Heard in America”
Purpose of Visit:
To promote awareness of enduring military base problems on Okinawa, Japan, and to propose the closure and consolidation of the 34 military installations on Okinawa as part of Congressional deficit-reduction plans to reduce defense spending by $1 trillion over the next ten years. The U.S. military built up its network of bases on the island by forcibly appropriating villages, homes and farmland in the wake of the Battle of Okinawa sixty-seven years ago. Highlighting the most critical problems facing Okinawans today, the delegation will demand:
1. The closure and return of U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station. Often referred to as the most dangerous base in the world, Futenma’s continued operations in densely populated residential areas of Ginowan City violate both US and Japanese safety standards. Planned deployment of the accident-prone MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft to Futenma in 2012 faces strong opposition across Okinawa.
2. The cancellation of plans to construct a new Marine Corps air base at Cape Henoko, which involves massive land reclamation of a beautiful coral reef marine ecosystem and the habitat of the critically endangered Okinawa dugong (sea manatee).
3. The reduction of unbearable noise caused by air operations at Kadena Air Base, and the withdrawal of any proposal to integrate Futenma’s helicopter squadrons into Kadena’s operations. Kadena is already the subject of a lawsuit filed by 22,000 plaintiffs seeking to terminate nighttime flight operations at the base.
4. An end to the construction of six new helipads in the Yanbaru forest in northern Okinawa. This construction will result in the permanent destruction of forestland said to be comparable to a World Natural Heritage site, as well as the erosion of the quality of life for local residents of Takae.
5. The revision of the U.S.-Japan Status Of Forces Agreement, which will be demanded in particular by family members of Mr. Koki Yogi, who was killed by a civilian employee of the U.S. Air Force in January, 2011. The U.S.-Japan SOFA routinely obstructs fair trials and favors U.S. military and civilian personnel who commit crimes in Japan. Such crimes, which occur on a weekly basis, include fatal driving incidents, residential break-ins, taxi robberies, sexual violence, and other serious crimes against local citizens.
Federal agencies: National Security Council, Department of State, Department of Defense
Congressional committees and representatives: Senate Committees on Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Appropriations, and Subcommittee on Military Construction; House of Representatives Committees on Armed Services and Foreign Affairs; the Sustainable Defense Task Force; Congress members seeking the withdrawal of US Marine Corps from Okinawa; Congress members seeking reductions in defense spending; Congress members from states and U.S. territories with Marine Corps bases, such as California, Hawaii, and Guam.
Think tanks: Brookings Institution, Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Institute for Policy Studies, New America Foundation, Center for a New American Security, etc.
Peace and environmental organizations: Social Justice Ministries with United Methodist Church, Peace Action, Network for Okinawa, Center for Biological Diversity, etc.
Dates of visit:
Monday, January 23, 2012 – Thursday, January 26, 2012
Chairperson: Mr. Tokushin Yamauchi (member of House of Councilors)
Vice-chairpersons: Ms. Keiko Itokazu (member of House of Councilors), Ms. Suzuyo Takazato (representative of Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence), Mr. Hiroshi Ashitomi (representative of the Council Opposing the Helicopter Base)
Executive Director: Mr. Satoshi Tamanaha (Chairperson of Okinawa-ken High School Teachers and Staff Union)
Okinawa Prefectural Assembly members: Ms. Kyoko Higa, Mr. Taiga Teruya, Ms. Sueko Yamauchi
Municipal Assembly members: Mr. Isao Tobaru (Ginowan City), Mr. Takuma Higashionna (Nago City), Ms. Satoko Taira (Naha City), Mr. Naoya Kuwae (Okinawa City), Mr. Masaharu Teruya (Chatan Village)
Attorney at Law: Mr. Toshio Ikemiyagi (representative of 嘉手納基地爆音訴訟弁護団 [Kadena Aircraft Noise Lawsuit Plaintiff’s Group])
Represented organizations: 沖縄平和市民連絡会 [Okinawa Peace Network]、ヘリ基地反対協議会 [Council Opposing the Helicopter Base], 嘉手納爆音訴訟団 [Kadena Aircraft Noise Lawsuit Plaintiff’s Group] 、普天間爆音訴訟団 [Futenma Aircraft Noise Lawsuit Plaintiff’s Group] 、No Helipad Takae Resident Society [高江ヘリパッドいらない住民の会]、Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, 沖縄・生物多様性市民ネットワーク [Citizens’ Network for Okinawan Biodiversity], 与儀功貴君の遺族を支える会、合意していないプロジェクト [Project Disagree], 沖縄県高教組 [Okinawa-ken High School Teachers and Staff Union], 宜野湾市職労 [Ginowan City Labor Union]
“Voices of Okinawa – Close the Base”
Room # 402, 3-29-41 Kumoji
Naha City, Okinawa, Japan
Tel & Fax: ＋81-98-864-1539