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Okinawa Governor's Visit to Washington DC: Our Analysis

2017-02-16 11:20:05 | report
from Okinawa Environmental Justice Project
February 15, 2017

Okinawa Governor's Visit to Washington DC: Our Analysis
From January 30 to February 5, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, accompanied by a delegation of “All-Okinawa Kaigi (conference),” visited Washington D.C. It was his third visit to the center of U.S. power since he took over the office of Governor in November 2014.

Just like in his previous visits, the purpose of his visit this time was to ask those on Capitol Hill to cancel the plan to relocate the U.S. Futenma Air Station in Ginowan City to Henoko and Oura Bay in Nago City. Throughout his visit, he emphasized that the people of Okinawa continue to oppose the construction a new base there (the Henoko plan) and that he would use all his administrative power and means to stop the construction.

How did Governor Onaga’s visit go? What would Governor Onaga and the people of Okinawa do next? Here are our reviews and analysis.

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Japan to start offshore work at planned new Okinawa airbase

2017-02-07 11:38:34 | news


Kyodo
Feb 1, 2017

FUTENMA, OKINAWA PREF. – The government plans to start maritime construction work as early as next week at the planned relocation site for a key U.S. airbase in Okinawa, a government source said Tuesday.

The move, which is likely to trigger further local opposition, comes after the government’s resumption in late December of land construction work at U.S. Marines Corps Camp Schwab located adjacent to the relocation site.

The maritime work is part of the central government’s plan to relocate the operations of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from densely populated Ginowan to the Henoko coastal area in Nago, farther north on Okinawa Island.

Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga has vowed to stop the plan, reflecting the calls of many Okinawa residents who want the Futenma base to be moved outside the prefecture. Okinawa hosts the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan.

The planned maritime construction work involves placing more than 200 concrete blocks weighing around 10 tons each undersea to hold screens used to prevent the spread of debris and sediment.

The government plans to soon dispatch ships carrying the concrete blocks as well as vessels to conduct undersea surveys, the source said.

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Okinawa: NGO Appeal to the United Nations and to US Military and Government over Base Matters

2016-12-22 15:17:50 | article

    Landing zones under construction November 2016. Photo Okinawa Times

Okinawa: NGO Appeal to the United Nations and to US Military and Government over Base Matters, December 2015 and December 2016

Edited by Hideki Yoshikawa and Gavan McCormack

December 15, 2016
Volume 14 | Issue 24 | Number 7

Okinawa: NGO Appeal to the United Nations and to US Military and Government over Base Matters, December 2015 and December 2016

Introduction

December 2nd 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) agreement between the Japanese and the U.S. governments. The 1996 SACO agreement was a response to Okinawa’s outrage against the rape of a 12 year old local girl by three U.S. soldiers in 1995. The agreement was proclaimed and has been promoted as a means to reduce the heavy burden of the presence of the U.S. military in Okinawa since the end of World War II.

However, what the people of Okinawa have experienced for the past 20 years has been the oppressive reality of the agreement. The return of land occupied by the U.S. military was made conditional on the provision of replacement bases and facilities within Okinawa and, even worse, the Japanese government has met the opposition to the construction of new bases and facilities with an iron-fist and the U.S. military and the government treated it with scorn.

The 20th anniversary thus passed without ceremony. Protesters against the construction of new helipads for the U.S. military in the Yanbaru forest clashed with Japanese riot police at the construction site. People gathered at the Nago Police Station to demand the release of protesters detained in its cells and to denounce the police search of the offices of local peace organizations. Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi defended himself against charges that he had accepted the construction of helipads in the Yanbaru forest as a “painful decision” in return for the return of half of the U.S. military’s Northern Training Area to Okinawa, repeating that he did not approve their construction.

The SACO agreement continues to affect and to challenge the people of Okinawa. Despite its many contradictions and flaws, it is still the only agreement between the Japanese and U.S. governments that stipulates return to Okinawa of land occupied by the U.S. military. Many in Okinawa wonder what would happen if Okinawa did not seize the opportunity provided by this agreement. Okinawa continues to suffer under the other two bilateral frameworks, the U.S. Japanese Security Treaty and the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

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Senior U.S. official praises Osprey pilot’s decision to ditch

2016-12-19 15:32:05 | article

 A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey is submerged off Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, on Wednesday after ditching Tuesday evening. | COURTESY OF OSAMU MAKI / VIA KYODO

Senior U.S. official praises Osprey pilot’s decision to ditch

JIJI, Kyodo  Dec 15, 2016

WASHINGTON – A senior U.S. government official said the pilot of the MV-22 Osprey that crashed Tuesday deserves credit for ditching the tilt-rotor aircraft off Okinawa to avoid hitting the city of Nago.

Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, acknowledged Wednesday that the accident was “regrettable.” But he also said: “This did not put Japanese lives in danger. It put American lives in danger, you could argue.”

According to the U.S., the Osprey pilot chose to make an emergency landing in shallow water off Nago to avoid the danger of crash-landing in the city. All crew members were rescued.

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WCC Report 2: Hawaii-Okinawa to the world: Friendship Formed

2016-12-01 11:41:28 | report
In addition to attending the congress, we interacted with the members of Hawaii Okinawa Alliance (HOA) based in Honolulu. HOA is a group which advocates justice, democracy and peace in Okinawa, Hawaii and the world. “HOA” means a friend or comrade in Hawaiian.

Sep1 A learning assembly was sponsored by HOA and other local organizations.
Our international director Hideki Yoshikawa made a presentation on the planned construction of a base at Henoko. (An Okinawan politician) Takuma Higashionna and
(A leader of sit-in protest) Hiroshi Ashitomi also talked about their activities. Furthermore, our representative Yutaka Umisedo livened up the meeting with his song performance.






Sep4 Dozens of people including HOA members gathered in front of the convention center, calling:“IUCN should bring up the issue of environmental destruction by militaries for discussion!” We ,SDCC members),also joined them with banners in our hands.






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