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Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States by Gavan McCormack & Satoko Oka Norimatsu

Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States by Gavan McCormack and Satoko Oka Norimatsu will be released by Rowman & Littlefield in July 2012. Resistant Islands offers a comprehensive overview of Okinawan history over half a millennium from the Ryukyu Kingdom to the present, focusing especially on the colonization by Japan, the islands' disastrous fate during World War II, and their subsequent and continuing subordination to US military purpose.

Petition: No to Military Base YES to Dugong Protection Area

If you haven't signed this petition from Save the Dugong Campaign Center, please consider doing so and sharing with your friends. They need less than a hundred signatures to meet their goal of 1,000!

Makoto Arakaki: Photographs of the Okinawa Prefecture Office Sit-in

Mark Selden, editor of The Asia-Pacific Journal, notes that Okinawans have created the most vibrant and sustained grassroots movement for democracy and peace in the Asia-Pacific, comparable only to the Korean movement in intensity, longevity, and creativity. Makoto Arakaki's photographs of the late December sit-in at the Okinawa Prefecture's administration building captures the intensity of not only this latest moment in history, but also of the breadth and depth of the entire Okinawan Movement, now in its sixth decade. Okinawans, including prominent elected political leaders and journalists, successfully engaged in a 24/7 sit-in at the Okinawa Prefecture administration building to prevent the delivery of the proposed U.S. Marine Base Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before January 4, 2012 to the Okinawan Prefectural officials. Part of the EIA did reach the office in a surreptitious 4 a.m. backdoor delivery a few days before the end of the year, but not the entire document. According to sociologist Masami Mel Kawamura, the Japanese government wanted "to rob the Okinawa prefectural government of precious time for preparation of "Governor's Comments" on the EIS while distracting the media's attention. According to the EIA law and ordinance, Governor's Comments for the airport plan should be issued within 45 days after the submission of EIS while for the reclamation plan they should be issued within 90 days." The EIS alleges that the destruction of Oura Bay and Henoko to make way for offshore runways for military aircraft would not result in any significant environmental impacts to Oura Bay's biodiverse sea life, including the federally protected Okinawa dugong.

Okinawa Outreach: Mangetsu Matsuri (Full Moon Festival) – Celebration of Earth, Life and Peace Continues in Okinawa

Via Okinawa Outreach, a website coordinated by engaged scholars in Okinawa: "The 13th Mangetsu Matsuri (Full Moon Festival) will take place at Oura Bay in Nago, Okinawa on November 12 (Sat.) and 13 (Sun.). This year’s Mangetsu Matsuri is organized under the subtheme “Toward Communities without Military Bases and Nuclear Power Plants,” reflecting what happened in the Tohoku region of mainland Japan in March this year."

“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.

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.

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."

Please watch this animation from Save the Dugong Campaign Center

Save the Dugong Campaign Center (SDCC) is a coalition member of our Japanese partner, JUCON. The Japanese NGO acts to protect the dugong living in Okinawa, in the southern part of Japan. The Okinawa dugong is a marine mammal which inhabits the warm ocean waters off Henoko. Its existence is threatened by environmental destruction, especially the Japanese government's plan (against unanimous Okinawan democratically expressed choice) to build a U.S. Marine base in its only habitat. Please watch the posted video for some brief information about the dugongs in Okinawa. You can reach and join the SDCC on Facebookhere.

Network for Okinawa’s Statement on Current Situation with U.S. Base Relocation

Network for Okinawa's statement on the current developments regarding the U.S. base relocation in Okinawa. English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean versions of the statement are available.

Chalmers Johnson’s Op-Ed in the LA Times

Professor Chalmers Johnson's op-ed in the Los Angeles Times opposing plans for a new U.S. military base in Okinawa.