Thursday, January 28, 2010

US for Okinawa - Peace Action Network launches this weekend: Events in Tokyo and Kyoto

Members of grassroots peace groups and other concerned individuals have gathered to form the “US for OKINAWA peace action network".

Closely affiliated with the Peace Boat NGO and also including members from the Peace Not War Japan collective, the network’s primary aim is to voice the opposition of foreigners living in Japan to the presence and plans for expansion of U.S. military bases in Okinawa (and beyond):

New Network Formed to Protect Okinawa, Japan from Foreign Military Bases

US for OKINAWA is a new peace action network based in Tokyo that was recently formed by U.S., Japanese, Canadian, New Zealand, Australian, Welsh, Mexican and other citizens living in Japan who are concerned about Okinawa. A deliberate double entendre, US may be read both as "us" (you, me, everyone), as well as U.S. (reflecting the proactive stance of Americans in Japan who support a base-free Okinawa).

US for OKINAWA was organized out of shared concern regarding the danger that the U.S. Futenma Air Base poses to the people of Okinawa, as well as the pressure exerted by the U.S. on the new Japanese administration to construct a replacement facility for the base in Henoko, an environmentally fragile area on the eastern part of the island. If carried out, this construction would likely spell the extinction of the endangered dugong (cousin to the Florida manatee) and simply shift the problems of contamination, air pollution, safety hazards and crime associated with Futenma to another part of Okinawa.

US for OKINAWA is committed to forming liaisons with Okinawan and Japanese peace groups, whom we join in strong opposition to these bases for the hardships they impose upon Okinawan residents and for the environmental damage they cause . Okinawa makes up only .6% of Japan's territory but “hosts” 75% of all US military bases in the country under treaties that were negotiated by Tokyo and Washington, without input from the Okinawan people.

The island already shoulders a disproportionate military burden, and US for OKINAWA applauds Prime Minister Hatoyama for having the integrity to call for a halt to new base construction in Henoko. The Obama administration’s demand that Prime Minister Hatoyama submit to its wishes or risk jeapordizing US-Japan relations is aggressive action that shows complete disregard for the right to peace and self-determination of the Okinawan people, and is extremely unbecoming of a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

US for OKINAWA strongly believes that continued friendly relations between Japan and the U.S. should not depend on the construction of yet another base in Okinawa, and calls upon President Obama to return Futenma to the Okinawan people, and to desist from pushing for further unwanted military expansion.

US for OKINAWA is rapidly growing and welcomes people of any nationality to join its network. To join the network or receive more information, write to

Information on the network's latest initiatives will also be posted on its blog here.

The network is planning a series of actions to raise support and awareness for its cause. This coming weekend, its very first event will be held in Tokyo (Sunday, January 31st). Another organization, Kyoto Action, will be including US for Okinawa members located in Kansai in it's regular Saturday activities in Kyoto (Saturday, January 30th). Information is as follows:


Come out to participate in a creative, art-themed event to raise awareness and gather support for a base-free Okinawa. Together, we will create collaborative art projects (painting, digital art, collage, photos, recycled artwork and more) featuring our message. Everyone is welcome…Please wear blue or green clothing to show your support for a peaceful Okinawa. No Futenma, No Henoko!!

Date: Sunday, January 31st)
Time: 13:00 - 15:00 (Meet at 13:00; action will start at 14:00)
Place: Yoyogi Park (near the fountain).

Directions from JR Harajuku Station (JR Yamanote Line):
From Harajuku Station, go right out of the Omotesando Exit. Turn right and walk over the bridge to the right. Cross the street and turn left. The park will be on the right. It’s about a 5 minute walk. Access is also available from the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line (Meiji-Jingumae station) or the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line.

Emilie McGlone ( or Rose Welsch (


Kyoto Action for Okinawa
Date: Saturday, January 30, 2010
Time: 17:00-18:30
Place: Arcade at Kawaramachi and Sanjo Street

Kyoto Action is a group of people living in Kyoto campaigning to close down Futenma Air Force Base and stop the construction of a new U.S. military base at Heneko in Okinawa. The group meets every Saturday, same place, same time, to show their opposition to U.S. military base constructions in Okinawa. On January 30th, in solidarity, Kyoto Action will also be distributing information about the US for Okinawa "Peace Action Network."

Contact: Jen Teeter (

Further information also available here in Japanese and in English.

- Posted by Kim Hughes and Jen Teeter

No comments: