Thursday, June 28, 2018

Okinawa Dugong Lawsuit Judge asks why US govt did not consult with environmental experts and Okinawans about Landfill, Construction Impact on Okinawa Dugong Cultural Heritage

Today, the Okinawa Dugong Lawsuit Judge why the U.S. govt did not consult with environmental experts and Okinawans about loss of Henoko dugong habitat when planning landfill and offshore training airstrip construction at Okinawa's most important natural cultural heritage site:
Environmental groups told a federal judge Thursday that in order to justify forging ahead with a new military base on Okinawa, the Department of Defense did a cursory job of evaluating effects on the endangered Okinawa dugong.

Earthjustice lawyer Sarah Burt said the Pentagon did not consult native Okinawans or the Okinawa prefectural government about the base’s potential harm to dugong populations that feed in the area, or about how the loss of habitat might impact Okinawan cultural practices.

“The affected communities are the traditional communities that hold the cultural beliefs and spiritual practices surrounding the dugong and they were not consulted in this case,” Burt told U.S. District Judge Edward Chen at Thursday’s hearing to determine whether an environmental challenge to the base can move forward.

Burt said the department is required under the National Historic Preservation Act to consult with the Okinawan government and affected communities, but instead hired contractors to speak with the Japanese government and outside academics...

[Federal District Court Judge Edward] Chen first dismissed the case in 2015, ruling the plaintiffs’ request for an injunction raised political questions the court lacked the authority to hear. At the time, Chen seemed fatalistic about the base’s construction and the court’s inability to offer the plaintiffs any effective relief...

But last year, the Ninth Circuit [Court of Appeals] ruled the plaintiffs have standing to seek declaratory and injunctive relief over the base, and that neither set of claims present political questions that prohibit judicial review...

...Chen seemed open to hearing from local cultural practitioners regarding anything the Department of Defense’s finding of no adverse impact [dumping landfill over dugong feeding grounds on the critically endangered mammal's survival] might have left out or ignored.

He also asked the government why it didn’t at least give the environmental groups a notice and comment period. Surely that wouldn’t offend America’s strategic partners, he suggested.

“Is it arbitrary and capricious to not even be told about the process?” Chen asked Justice Department attorney Mark Haag.
The Mainichi's coverage, "Legitimacy of Okinawa base relocation questioned in US court," provides a summary of the history of the lawsuit (initiated in 2003), and closes with responses from Burt and Peter Galvin, co-founder of one of the American plaintiffs, Center for Biological Diversity:
Judge Chen is taking seriously his obligation to review what the Department of Defense has done," she said. "I'm hopeful that we have been able to convince him that the very purpose of the statute is informed decision making in partnership with local communities."

"I was able to make the case for the people of Okinawa and the dugong. So now we wait," she said.

Peter Galvin, director of programs at the Center for Biological Diversity, emphasized the need for a big win.

Noting that the construction has already driven the resident dugongs from the area, Galvin warned that once the landfill is placed and the seagrass and coral are covered, serious damage will be irreversible.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

TUESDAY - May 22, 2018 - ZAN screening at Diet Members' Office Bldg of the Lower House - Public welcome!

ZAN: In Search of the Last of the Okinawa Dugong will be screening tomorrow, Tuesday, May 22, at the Diet Members' Office Building of the Lower House in Tokyo

Tokyo-based Irish director Richard Grehan and producer/narrator Yu Kisami's beautiful, award-winning documentary is a tribute to the scientists, environmentalists, and local Okinawans who have spent the past 2 decades working to save Henoko's dugong and coral reef ecosystem, Okinawa's most important natural cultural heritage site. Through their insights, ZAN shows us the meaning of the Okinawan value of "Nuchi du Takara" (All life, including the life of nature, is precious).

Earlier this month, the Center for Biological Diversity, a co-plaintiff in the Dugong Lawsuit, screened ZAN in Berkeley, in conjunction with a letter Okinawa Governor Onaga sent to the US Dept of Defense (DoD) requesting that DoD consult, under the U.S. National Historical Preservation Act [NHPA], with the Okinawa Prefectural Government regarding the impact on the dugong from the planned offshore expansion of US military training base in Henoko

Last week ZAN was one of the featured selections at the Endangered Species Film Festival in Missoula, Montana. 

After tomorrow's screening at the Diet, there will be a discussion with the director, Rick Grehan.

Please contact to reserve your seat.
Date: Tuesday, May 22 17:00-19:00
Place: Diet Members' No.1 Office Building of the Lower House
Capacity: 60 people

Application/inquiry: Tel: 03-3553-4102 Email:

・場所:衆議院第一議員会館1F 国際会議室(最寄り駅:東京メトロ永田町・出口1)
・申し込み・お問い合わせ:日本自然保護協会 Tel: 03-3553-4102 Email:

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Earth Day 2018 - The Sea is the Treasure of Life - Miracle of Oura Bay and Yanbaru

Beautiful Henoko coral reef and dugong sea underwater photographs and music via One Peace Okinawa (events ongoing this weekend at Earth Day Tokyo/アースデイ東京) with photography by Takuya Nakamura: "A Miracle of Oura Bay and Yanbaru - About Precious Nature" and music by Milk (Maitreya) singing "The sea is the treasure of life."
Most of Okinawa's coral reefs have been lost because of coastal construction and global warming. Miraculously, coral reefs are still thriving in the sea of Henoko and Oura Bay where nutrients and fresh water from Yanbaru's subtropical rainforest and living tidelands continue to the sea. Does anyone really want to build a base by landfilling this magnificent sea, a treasure of life?
"The Sea is a Treasure of Life" by Milk (Maitreya)

Island treasure Coral sea

A cradle of life
Nurturing creatures
Breakwaters to protect the island
Treasure chest in the sea
Jewels spun over a thousand years
Miracles connecting life.

Coral reefs are treasures of the earth...
The sea and the forest are connected...
The living guardian rainforest of the sea...
The sea and the land are connected...
There is no border between them...

The sea is the treasure of life...

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Alicia Bay Laurel and Takuji - "Imagine" and "Give Peace a Chance" at Hiroshima Nagarekawa Church, which stands on what was ground zero

Our friends, Alicia Bay Laurel and Takuji, performing "Imagine" and "Give Peace a Chance" in Hiroshima 08/08/2015. Author/artist/vocalist/songwriter Alicia Bay Laurel and jazz multi-instrumentalist Takuji perform John Lennon's anti-war classics "Imagine" and "Give Peace a Chance" at a peace concert that was part of the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 8, 2015, at Hiroshima Nagarekawa Church, which stands on what was ground zero in Hiroshima.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Keibo Oiwa addresses the psychological roots of world crisis in Nuclear Zen

In Berlin-based filmmaker Michael Saup's short documentary, Nuclear Zen, anthropologist, environmental activist (and contributor to Kyoto Journal) Keibo Oiwa, shares his holistic take on creating a life-sustaining Japan and world. His views echo those of many eco-activists, especially Sacred Stone, Okinawan and other indigenous water, rainforest, earth protectors:
Thank you is a recognition of the reality. We are living here. We are using [nuclear [and fossil]] electricity...We created the social system -- media, education, politics -- on top of the same system. We have to admit it. Yes, this is where we are. And we have to embrace it, whether it's ugly or not. This is us. And only after that, we can say what we want to do. But the problem is, many people refuse to recognize this reality.

Albert Einstein said you cannot solve the problem within the same mindset that created the problem in the first place. But that is exactly what we've been doing. As environmental activist, I've been fighting, in the movements against environmental destruction, pollution, climate change, nuclear power. And all these problems are too serious. We cannot solve any of these problems easily. Many people say it's too late. But I think it's very important that all these problems have the same root, not just environmental issues, but psychological problems.

What do we do with the very unhappy society we've created. you know, education, family situation, families are collapsing. We pit all the children against each other; they're supposed to be be competing and fighting against each other, forever. I think the roots are all entangled and maybe the same one. So what we have to do, is recognize the root. This is a great opportunity. This crisis is an understand this mindset, not just a society, but ourselves, our mindset...

The musician Ryuichi Sakamoto...said, "We are risking our lives, not only human lives, for the sake of what? Just electricity?"

But this is a mindset we have been captured in...

For what? Is it worth risking our lives, our future, our children's future?

The objective of this system is to make more, consume more, discard more. It's eternal growth: mass production, mass consumption, mass discarding. When you look around, this whole system is made up of excess. So I think excess is the nature of the present time. More. Bigger. Faster...This is a religion of efficiency.

...After March 11, we realized how hollow our democracy had become. Democracy had become a treasure box we were carrying but then after March 11, we opened it, after many years. It was empty. We have to rebuild democracy from scratch.

When you look at politics, at media, the situation seems so pessimistic. But at the same time, I witness so many good signs and I can see very clearly that what's happening in Japan all over the place has a strong resonance with what's happening outside of Japan; In Europe, in Africa, Latin America, everywhere, similar things are happening. They're coming out of the mindset that my generation is still trying to cling to. Young people are saying, 'Just forget it. They are not attracted anymore. They're not deceived. More and more, I can feel good things are happening...

The rest of the story we have to create...

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Peace for 70 years and infinity: MESSAGE FROM JAPAN to ASIAN COUNTRIES AND THE WORLD, 2015.

Via  SEALDs (Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy) Japan:
Published on Dec 24, 2015

《Peace for 70 years and infinity: MESSAGE FROM JAPAN to ASIAN COUNTRIES AND THE WORLD, 2015.》

Happy X'mas そして、そろそろ今年も終わりですね。SEALDsで今年を締めくくる動画をつくりま­した。思えば激動の一年でした。法案は可決されましたが、今年得られたものはたくさん­あるはずです。戦後から70年。そして71年を迎え、戦後から100年たっても戦争し­ない国であることを願います。困難な時代にこそ希望があると信じて。そして一歩踏み出­す勇気を。

Seventy years have passed since the end of war. The peace and prospect of post-war Japan were led by profound sacrifice of the war. We support the pacifist constitution of this country and use it for peacebuilding in north-east Asia and the world. Liberty, democracy, and universal human rights; these values are not just imagination. They are the important seeds that we were given by the past for defending liberty of people and constructing sustainable peace. The ideal of Japanese Constitution never loses its power unless we give it up. With intelligence and reason, we continue to claim for peace and respect for liberty and democracy in Asian Countries.