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International Scholars, Peace Advocates and Artists Condemn Agreement To Build New U.S. Marine Base in Okinawa
an article by Peace Philosophy Blogspot

Leading scholars, peace advocates and artists from the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia today released the attached statement opposing the construction of the new U.S. Marine base at Henoko, Okinawa, planned by the US and Japanese governments as a replacement facility of Futenma airbase located in the middle of Ginowan City. Their statement urges “support for the people of Okinawa in their struggle for peace, dignity, human rights, and protection of the environment.”


PHOTO:Filmmaker Oliver Stone visits elders at Henoko sit-in tent, August 2013
(Photo by Ryukyu Shimpo

click on photo to enlarge

Initial signers of the statement include linguist Noam Chomsky, academy award winning film makers Oliver Stone and Michael Moore, Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire, historian John Dower, former U.S. military officer and diplomat Ann Wright, and United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine Richard Falk. (See complete list of initial signers on statement. Additional names are being added.)

Speaking for the signers, Joseph Gerson of the American Friends Service Committee, who has worked with Okinawan base opponents and initiated the 1996 “Statement of Outrage and Remorse” following the kidnapping and rape of an Okinawan schoolgirl by U.S. servicemen, said the statement is intended to “ rally international support for Okinawans in their inspiring and essential nonviolent campaign to end seventy years of military colonization, to defend their dignity and human rights, and to ensure peace and protect their environment.”

Professor Peter Kuznick of American University, who co-authored The Untold History of the United States with Oliver Stone, decried Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima’s betrayal of Okinawan voters. “During the campaign, Nakaima promised to work for the relocation of Futenma base outside Okinawa. According to the polls, 72.4 percent of Okinawans see the governor’s decision as a ‘breach of his election pledge,’” Kuznick said, “The deal was made at the behest of the United States and of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. It tramples the rights of the Okinawan people to advance Obama’s Asian ‘pivot.’”

The statement reviews the oppression and exploitation of Okinawa- - first by Japanese rulers with invasion and annexation, and then by the United States to support its hegemonic interests in the Pacific. It points to the unjust concentration of 73.8% of exclusively U.S. military bases in Japan on less than 1% of the country’s land mass. Signers also point to the painful irony that for seven decades Okinawans “have suffered what the signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence denounced as ‘abuses and usurpations,’ including the presence of foreign ‘standing armies without consent of our legislature.’”

Professor Gavan McCormack of the Australian National University, and co-author with Satoko Norimatsu of Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States, described the intrusions of militarism that threaten Okinawans’ lives and health, " from military accidents, crimes including sexual violence for which U.S. forces are not held fully accountable, to intolerable military aircraft noise and chemical pollution.” He said that “Okinawans’ courageous and unrelenting struggle to finally end the military occupation and to enjoy real security deserves the support of people around the world.”

To support the effort, you may sign the petition at Change.org.

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This report was posted on September 17, 2014.