Just another IPS Sites site

Tag Archives: Jon Mitchell

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.

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.

In aftermath of natural disasters & during nuclear crisis, Tokyo moves to build unapproved U.S. Marine deep-water ammunition port at Henoko

Jon Mitchell's latest "Postcard from Henoko" published at Foreign Policy in Focus: The Department of Defense has been busy all week feeding copy to the media on its undeniably heroic work in northern Japan. However that same press machine has been slower to report on another of its military projects currently underway in Maher’s former stomping ground of Okinawa. Since January 2011, the Okinawa Defense Bureau has been building a 50 million yen ($600,000) barrier between Camp Schwab and the public beach at Henoko... Both the Japanese and US governments are remaining silent as to the purpose of its new barrier, but in the nearby sit-in tent, protesters are sure. According to one elderly man, “After they’ve finished building that wall, they’ll be hidden from sight. And then they’ll be free to do whatever they want.”

Postcard from Takae

A U.S. war training ground occupies a quarter of biodiverse Yanbaru forest on the northern tip of Okinawa. The U.S. military trained there during Vietnam War, and now wants to build six helipads for dangerous V-22 Osprey aircraft within two of the best-preserved areas in the forest, near Takae village. Takae residents have engaged in a sit-in since 2007 to protest the construction of military heliports in Yanbaru Forest, home of numerous endangered species. This month Okinawan peace and democracy groups are demonstrating against the restart of construction and the U.S. helicopter destruction of a sit-in tent. Jon Mitchell's article describes the ongoing plight and democratic action of the residents of the small village known for "Slow Life" culture, who have been besieged by U.S. war training for decades.

US for Okinawa featured in The Japan Times

Network for Okinawa coalition member, US for Okinawa, was featured in The Japan Times on Nov. 27. The article, which spotlights some of the wonderful young people in the movement to close Futenma and save Henoko, was written by Jon Mitchell, also a contributor to Foreign Policy in Focus.