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Happy New Year from Henoko-Oura Bay

2019-01-04 16:05:17 | report


Happy New Year!

On New Year's Day 2019, some 360 people gathered at the Henoko beach to join the Hachi ukushi (first day of working or of rising) ceremony, celebrating the beginning of the year of the boar.

Traditionally, people in Okinawa hold the Hachi ukushi to pray for the safety and good health of farmers, fisherman, artisans, and community members and a good harvest, good catch, and good yielding in the year. We hold this traditional Hachi ukushi on the send or third day of the first month of the year in the lunar calendar.

The Hachi ukushi ceremony at Henoko is a little different from traditional ones, but it serves ultimately the same purposes. We prayed to the Nirai kanai no kami (gods of the outer world beyond the sea) that the U.S. military base would not be built in Henoko-Oura Bay so that the natural environment that provides us with food and livelihood would remain intact. We prayed that peace would prevail in the world without war so that people all over the world would enjoy a truly safe and healthy living.

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Message from Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases

2018-12-17 21:52:50 | message
Stop the Construction of U.S. Military Base in Henoko!

The Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases supports the democratic will of the Okinawan people and opposes U.S. military base construction at Henoko.
Memory of the death and destruction of the Battle of Okinawa is deep and still present today, as the Japanese central government, in cooperation with the Pentagon, attempts to build yet another U.S. airstrip, one which would destroy pristine Oura Bay in Henoko, despite opposition from some 80 percent of the Okinawan people and their governor, Denny Tamaki.
Ignoring the people’s will and international opposition, including from many U.S. military veterans, the Japanese government began pouring soil and sand into Oura Bay before noon on December 14 in Nago’s Henoko district. The U.S. Navy claims the construction is necessary to replace U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, often called “the most dangerous airbase in the world.” That hugely unpopular base, which the U.S. has been promising to shut down since 1996, is currently in the densely populated residential area of Ginowan.
The airstrip will endanger the people, despoil a pristine environment and destroy endangered sea life, including the last few dugong (a marine mammal related to the manatee), which, according to Okinawan mythology, “has divine status—a messenger of the sea gods,” says Hideki Yoshikawa, secretariat of the nongovernment organization Citizens’ Network for Biodiversity in Okinawa. “Today, however, there are only between three and 10 alive.” The peace movement on Okinawa is remarkably diverse, like nature itself, but it is united by a common philosophy: a belief in nuchi du takara: all life is precious.
The excuse that the base is needed for defense is a thin pretext. Satoko Oka Norimatsu, co-author of Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States, wrote, “The people there know that the military only attracts violence and death, instead of peace and stability.” As Hiroji Yamashiro, the charismatic and popular leader of the anti-base movement, said to people gathering at Henoko, “The American military stole our land to build bases then they used these bases to wage wars around the world. If they build a new base here, they will use it to fight new wars [but] if we win here, we can send a message of peace around the world.”
This is a crisis of democracy, as the U.S. military and the right-wing Japanese government under Shinzó Abe are trampling on the democratic will of the people of Okinawa in order to build yet another base. Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki said, “I cannot help feeling strong resentment toward the work being carried out in defiance of the prefectural residents’ will.”
The Okinawan people and their prefectural government have done everything they can to prevent the base in Henoko being built as a replacement—and will continue their efforts to stop it if it begins. The vigil at the gate has continued for more than 5,000 days and the actual sit-in blocking construction vehicles, which has been joined by many internationals, has gone on more than 1,000.
The people of Okinawa have experienced 73 years of occupation, the taking of precious farming land, and now some 30 U.S. military facilities and 25,000 military personel on this small island. They are fed up with the pollution, noise, violent crime and accidents caused by the U.S. military and do not want any new bases built in the prefecture.
We call upon all people-loving people to join the people of Okinawa in opposing the construction of the U.S. Military Base in Henoko. We urge you to sign the people’s petition to the White House demanding that the construction be stopped until a democratic referendum can be held in Okinawa.

To sign the petition please CLICK HERE.

Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases
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Take Action: STOP the Landfill Work in Okinawa

2018-12-14 21:03:46 | Information

The resolution on new base construction project at Henoko in Okinawa that we submitted to - and was approved overwhelmingly by - the Saint Paul Convention has now been finally approved in the referendum of all members (591 to 5). Now is the time to put it to work. It is written as an appeal to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) to launch an investigation of that project. Last year’s GAO report on the Marines in the Asia-Pacific contained veiled criticisms of the Henoko project, so there is a real possibility that they might take this up big time.

・・・・・・・・・・・・・
A petition to "Stop the landfill of Henoko/Oura Bay until a referendum can be held in Okinawa" has been posted on the petition page of White House. Although it is quite challenging to collect 100,000 signatures within 30 days, which is required to get attention of the administration, it will still be a good way to bring attention to Okinawa by American voters.
Please support this petition and spread the word. This takes less than one minute to do.

Sign the Petition

For more background on the situation at Okinawa and the ongoing protests, check out Moé Yonamine's recent article in Common Dreams, Stand with Okinawa. Below is a brief excerpt:

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The Japanese government takes steps against Okinawa blocking U.S. base landfill work

2018-10-18 12:09:18 | article
The Japanese government takes steps against Okinawa blocking U.S. base landfill work
The Japan Times
Oct 17, 2018

Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya speaks to reporters Wednesday in Tokyo about the government's steps to go ahead with a plan to relocate the U.S. Futenma air base to the Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture. | KYODO

The central government has requested that the land ministry review and invalidate the Okinawa Prefectural Government decision that forced a suspension on relocation work for the controversial U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

“We still hope to realize an early (base) relocation to the Henoko area and the return of (land occupied by) Futenma Air Station,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference Wednesday.

The landfill work was approved in 2013 by then-Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima, but his successor, Takeshi Onaga, who died in office in August, revoked the approval in 2015. In a court battle that followed, the revocation was found to be illegal and Onaga rescinded it in late 2016.

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Dugong lawsuit appealed to U.S. High Court

2018-10-14 15:28:29 | article
September 26, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo
Washington Special Correspondent Yukiyo Zaha


A dugong, a national natural treasure, swims in the waters off coast of Kayo, Nago City, in March 2008.

On September 24 the plaintiffs in the dugong lawsuit, who requested a stop to construction of the Futenma Replacement Facility in Henoko, Nago City, appealed to the Federal High Court after the San Francisco District Court dismissed an appeal of the lawsuit.

U.S. and Japanese environmental conservation groups brought this case against the United States for the purpose of protecting endangered dugongs. The High Court will soon judge to accept or reject this appeal.

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