Thursday, May 6, 2010

The United Methodist Church calls for removal of U.S. military bases in Okinawa

The United Methodist General Board of Church and  Society is a member of the Network for Okinawa coalition, and joins their demand for the closure of the Futenma U.S. Marine Corps base in Okinawa and the halt of construction of new bases in Okinawa.
The Network for Okinawa has drawn together representatives from peace groups, environmental organizations, faith-based organizations, academia, and think tanks to support these goals. The coalition represents hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens concerned about democracy and environmental protection in Okinawa.

The coalition says the intentional destruction of a community and its natural environment is an act of violence: "Destroying the environmental and social well-being of an area … is itself like actively waging warfare against nature and human communities."

On April 23, the Washington-based coalition sent President Obama and Prime Minister Hatoyama of Japan a letter signed by more than 500 organizations demanding the immediate closure of Futenma and the cancellation of plans to relocate it to Henoko Bay.

The 2008 United Methodist General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body, approved a resolution, first adopted in 1996, that calls for removal or substantial reduction of U.S. military bases in Okinawa and the Okinawa Prefecture of Japan. The resolution calls for return of those lands for peaceful, constructive purposes.

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