Monday, December 26, 2011

Tokyo attempts to subvert Okinawan democratic process by submission of US military base EIS before the New Year

(Democracy activists in Okinawa stage sit-in. Photo: Henokohama Tsushin blog

Okinawan sociologist Dr. Masami Mel Kawamura explains the latest citizen action in Okinawa:
Okinawan people stage a sit-in protest in the Okinawa Prefecture Office building today to block the Japanese government's submission of Environment Impact Statement (EIS) for a new US military base in Henoko....
Background and analysis of Tokyo's latest attempt to move forward on this costly project rejected almost unanimously (99% ) by Okinawan citizens at Okinawa Outreach: "Okinawa Defense Bureau to submit EIS":
Amid Okinawa’s strong opposition, the Okinawa Defense Bureau (OBD) [Okinawan arm of the Japanese Defense Ministry] will submit its Environment Impact Statement (EIS) for the planned US base in Henoko/Oura Bay on December 26 to show Washington that the construction plan is on the right track as promised, according to the Ryukyu Shimpo .

By having the ODB submitting its EIS just before the New Year's season, the Japanese government can rob the Okinawa prefectural government of precious time for preparation of "Governor's Comments" on the EIS while distracting the media's attention to the base construction issues. According to the EIA law and ordinance, Governor's Comments for the airport plan should be issued within 45 days after the submission of EIS while for the reclamation plan they should be issued within 90 days.

The Okinawa Prefectural Assembly and municipal assemblies on the islands have adopted resolutions protesting against the submission of the EIS.

On the Street, citizens' groups stage protest rallies everyday against the ODB's submission of EIS and the Japanese government's handling of the base construction issues. Citizens also held rally on December 19 in front of the US Consulate in Urasoe City, criticizing the US government for "interfering" in domestic affairs.

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