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Anniversary of Okinawa Reversion: Henoko locals attach 100 protest banners to fence surrounding land U.S. Marines have earmarked for new base

May 15th marks the 39th anniversary of the “return” of Okinawa to Japan, yet 30 U.S. military bases remain throughout the Okinawa archipelago. Moreover, Tokyo and Washington have not abandoned their plan to destroy Oura Bay, habitat of the federally protected and critically endangered Okinawa dugong, to build a new “Futenma replacement” base, despite prefectural government disapproval at all levels.

This morning at Nago City, Henoko Bay, 150 people, in protest, attached 100 banners to a fence surrounding land U.S. Marines have earmarked for their proposed base.

In Ginowan City, the location of U.S. Marine Futenma Air Station, engaged in their 34th annual Peace Walk, forming a circular human chain around Futenma Air Field.

People across Japan are supporing their fellow citizens in Okinawa by holding solidarity demonstrations. Their message: Close U.S. Marine Air Station Futenma, cancel the plan to destroy Oura Bay to build a new base, and terminate plans to construct helipads in biodiverse Yanbaru Forest for the U.S. military V-22 Osprey aircraft, which have already taken the lives of 30 people in the U.S. and 4 in Afghanistan.

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May 7, 2011 Bitter Gourd Protest: “U.S. government itself is a ‘master of manipulation and extortion’”

On May 7, Okinawans protested derisive remarks by Kevin Maher made public earlier this year. The U.S. State Department’s former director of the Office of Japan Affairs called Okinawans “masters of manipulation and extortion” and described them as “too lazy to grow goya” (bitter gourd), a vegetable widely grown throughout Okinawa.

About 200 people gathered at the public square in front of the Okinawa Prefectural Government office to demonstrate against Maher’s remarks and Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa’s visit.

Before the protest, an Asahi News‘ explosive Wikileaks series exposing deceitful and fraudulent US-Japan machinations regarding Okinawa energized the entire prefecture. The Ryukyu Shimpo published an article retorting “U.S. government itself is a ‘master of manipulation and extortion,’” quoting an Okinawan peace activist who added that the Japanese government is equally “blameworthy.”

On May 8, the Okinawa Prefectural Government adopted a “Resolution of Protest Over The Remarks made by Mr. Kevin Maher, U.S. State Department Director of The Office of Japan Affairs” demanding that the former U.S. diplomat rescind his alleged remarks and apologize to the citizens of Okinawa Prefecture.

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The Asahi News’ May 4 Wikileaks series reveal Tokyo-D.C. deception & fraud re their proposed U.S. Marine base in Okinawa

The May 4, 2011 Asahi News Wikileaks reports reveal some of the deceit and fraud involved in the backroom dealings that have characterized D.C.-Tokyo political manipulation re Okinawa for military base purposes since the end of the Pacific War:

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Okinawa Times: “Okinawa Says No: Futenma reversion demanded, without relocation on the island”

The Okinawa Times, one of Okinawa’s two major newspapers, published editorial writer Takayuki Maeda’s direct message to Washington and Tokyo during last week’s visit by U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Jim Webb to the island.

The article is accompanied by a timeline of Okinawa’s demand for Futenma closure and resistance to a “replacement” base at environmentally sensitive Henoko and Oura Bay, habitat of the federally protected Okinawa dugong. The chronology begins with the crime that catalyzed widespread Okinawan anti-base activism: the September 4, 1995 kidnapping and rape of a 12-year old girl by 3 U.S. servicemen and ends with the March 6, 2011 public disclosure of former U.S. State Department Director of the Office of Japan Affairs and U.S. Consul General of Okinawa Kevin Maher’s description of Okinawans as “masters of manipulation and extortion.”

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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.

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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.”

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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%.

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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.

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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.

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“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.”

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