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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.

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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.

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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.

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Okinawa Prefecture art exhibition memorializing victims of the June 30, 1959 U.S. military jet crash into Miyamori Elementary School

This week, Okinawa Prefecture Office in Naha City is exhibiting memorial art created by surviving teachers and parents who lost children in the June 30 1959 U.S. military jet crash into the Miyamori Elementary School.

A US Air Force F-100 Super Sabre on a training flight from Kadena Air Base crashed into Miyamori Elementary School and the surrounding neighborhood. Eleven children and six adults in the neighborhood were killed. 210 other people, including 156 school children, were injured. The pilot ejected, unhurt.

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Japanese Interfaith Group Seeks “Removal of Futenma Base And Cancellation of the Construction of New Base in Henoko”

U.S. faith-based groups are part of the Network for Okinawa. These include the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Methodist Church, Pax Christi (Catholic peace organization), Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker outreach organization dedicated to peace and justice.

U.S. faith-based groups have collaborated with their counterparts in Japan since the early 1900′s, especially during the 1930′s when they attempted to avert the Pacific War. In recent years, U.S. and Japanese faith-based organizations have worked together with the same sense of urgency to save Article 9, the Peace Clause of the Japanese Constitution and to stem aggressive militarism in Asia.

On June 21, 2011, a new Japanese interfaith group comprised of Protestant and Catholic Christians and Buddhists announced their support of the Okinawan prefectural and local governments in their goal for the unconditional closure of U.S. Marine Air Station Futenma and the abolition of plans to destroy Oura Bay to make way for a new U.S. military base.

This follows a 2010 appeal from the National Christian Council in Japan (NCCJ) urging U.S. churches to gain awareness, pray and appeal to their government about the impact of U.S. plans for military expansion in Henoko and Oura Bay. Rev. Isamu Koshiishi, the moderator of the NCCJ, explained, “The beautiful coral reef, which had provided a livelihood for the villages and which was the seabed home of the endangered dugong, would now be destroyed with landfill for the purpose of constructing a military base for waging war.”

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Iejima: an island of resistance: Jon Mitchell traces the roots of Okinawa’s civil rights movement (伊江島:アイランド・オブ・レジスタンス)

As the governor and citizens of Okinawa address the latest U.S. Marine threat to their quality of lives and safety (planned deployment of dangerous V-22 Osprey aircraft in Futenma), Jon Mitchell’s look back at the origins of Okinawan resistance to ruthless U.S. military seizure of their property brings home how long Okinawans have struggled for freedom from the violence, injustice, noise, and environmental degradation the U.S. military forces upon their islands.

In 1955, 300 U.S. Marines with rifles and bulldozers dragged women and children from their beds, destroyed their homes and slaughtered their goats after they refused to voluntarily leave their farms in Iejima, one of Okinawa prefecture’s small islands, to make way for a U.S. bombing range. When the forcibly removed farmers were allowed to return, the Marines forced them to live in tents on barren land. With no crops, they foraged on the margins of the bombing range for shrapnel to sell for scrap, where the Marines shot them. Despite these atrocities, Iejima’s farmers refused to succumb to demoralization and defeat.

Leader Shoko Ahagon drew up policies inspired by Gandhi to guide their political action: nonviolent resistance and mass demonstrations. This resulted in some concessions and the prevention of U.S. deployment of nuclear missiles on the island in 1966. Ahagon is now known as the founder of the Okinawan civil rights movement.

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Citizens’ Network for Biological Diversity in Okinawa: United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Collective Statement

The Citizens’ Network for Biological Diversity has posted a Collective Statement delivered in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, in United Nations Headquarters, New York, 16-27 May, 2011:

It was delivered by Asia Indigenous People’s Pact (AIPP) . They joined our efforts and endorsed the statement and also uploaded it on their website.

We worked with Shimin Gaikou Centre to create the statement in bringing up Okinawa Issues (US base construction plan in Henoko/Oura bay and six US helipads in Takae) along with Ainu people’s issue. We are very happy to have No Helipad Takae Resident Society in our statement.

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Henoko unharmed by typhoon: Photos of No Base/Peace Gallery; AU student solidarity banner still enjoying sea breeze

Hideki Yoshikawa of Save the Dugong Campaign Center shares a report from Henoko, including not-to-be-missed photos of people’s art transforming the foreign military base fence into a local outdoor art space.

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Okinawa Goya Project 2011: A Photo Record of Goyas in Okinawa 2011

Okinawa Goya Project 2011: A Photo Record of Goyas in Okinawa 2011 — a new blog celebrating all things Goya (Okinawan bitter gourd):

Okinawa Goya Project 2011 is aimed at showing the world an evidentiary record of how many goyas Okinawans grow. Anyone can participate in this collaborative civic art project in progress by sending a photo associated with Okinawa goya.

Please send your pictures of goya to show the world the power of goya and Okinawa!

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Gavan McCormack: “Deception and Diplomacy: The US, Japan, and Okinawa”

East Asia scholar Gavan McCormack addresses the US-Japan relationship in light of the following matters: the Mitsuyaku (secret US-Japan diplomacy) brought to light since 2009; the cache of cables from US Embassy Tokyo (and Consul General Naha) to Washington released by Wiki-leaks in May 2011; the December 2010 “confession” by former Prime Minister Hatoyama admitting no real security need for another U.S. military base in Okinawa; the 2011 “Maher Affair”; and the shock waves of recent (2011) shifts in thinking on the Okinawa question at high levels in Washington. In conclusion, McCormack pays tribute to the contribution of Okinawan engaged citizenry in Japanese democratic culture.

In a dictatorship, the Henoko “replacement” project could still proceed, with citizens who stood in the way being arrested, beaten, and imprisoned. What the Kan government seems still unable to recognize, but Washington (or at least Senators Levin, Webb, and McCain and General Jones) has begun to concede, is that, at least so long as democratic institutions survive, there is no way to persuade or even to compel the submission of determined opponents, and therefore no way the Henoko project will proceed. After 15 years of struggle, the Okinawa movement has accomplished a signal victory. It has saved Oura Bay. It may be only one step in a struggle that seems to know no end, but it is a hugely significant one.

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