Sunday, September 30, 2012
沖縄の女性たちは、オスプレイ配備に反対す。、普天間基地、大山第一ゲート前で オスプレイ配備に反対 歌で平和を訴える
Okinawa women against US military V-22 "Osprey" aircraft deployment appeal for democracy, human rights & peace at Oyama gate, US Marine Futenma Air Station, Ginowan City, Sunday night, September 29, 2012.
In this powerful one-minute video, you can hear Suzuyo Takazato, co-director of Okinawa Women Against Military Violence, leading the group in "We Shall Overcome..."
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Today we celebrate Jugoya , or the August Moon. In giving thanks for the bounty of the year, we also pray for the strength needed during this crisis in Okinawa and for hopes of peace and safety of everyone.
Friday, September 21, 2012
US Congressman Dennis Kucinich expresses empathy with Fukushima survivors & calls for a Nuclear-Free World at C.A.N. rally in D.C.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich) addressed an overflowing audience yesterday at the Coalition Against Nukes (C.A.N.) rally, ongoing in Washington, D.C. through the weekend:
...The horrific meltdowns in Fukushima remind us all of just how vulnerable we are, not just in Japan, but everywhere...
Our hearts go out to the people of Japan for the catastrophe that you've have suffered, for the immediate effects and long-term effects that will concern generations of Japanese. Once again, to the Japanese people, your suffering is the suffering of the world. And your suffering needs to be understood by the world because the world has important lessons to learn from the suffering of the Japanese people.
The facts are clearly in our favor. Nuclear power should be allowed to fail as an energy source. But the facts are not enough, particularly in this town.
We have to change a mindset. The mindset does not get the attention it deserves.
I spent several hours on the floor of the house yesterday, trying to create the debate, which eventually resulted in stopping this new national park which glorifies the bomb. The supporters of the bill are prepared to memorialize the Manhattan Project without properly memorializing the unprecedented destruction that it brought. You can't talk about the technology without talking about its effects.
The schism in the thinking: technology here, effects there - is our mission to challenge; and to replace it with integrative thinking, with holistic thinking, with thinking that sees the world and cognizes the world as an undivided whole.
There's a sense that when the atom was split, it really split the consciousness of our country. It was the beginning of intensification of dichotomized thinking, of us versus them, whomever they are. And the dichotomy between humans and nature.
We have to reconcile ourselves with the natural world. That's the essence of sustainability... We have to not let our humanity be swept away as we congratulate ourselves about how clever we are about our inventions.
We have to look at where we're going as a society...
Thursday, September 20, 2012
The document that the Cabinet signed off on stirred speculation that it gave special consideration to big business and governments that benefit from hosting nuclear facilities, the main entities opposed to the publicly favored zero option."
Monday, September 17, 2012
Tng Ying Hui: Domestic Politics (unpopular political leadership in Japan, China, & ROK) driving political theater in Senkakus
Political changes across the region have induced the governments to weigh in more strongly in the contest for the islets. Just when the leadership transition is about to commence, the Chinese political elites are facing challenges to its absolute position.As the Bo Xilai scandal revealed fissures within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), they are anxious for a closure to the incident. Gu Kailai was swiftly charged for Neil Heywood’s murder, while ousted politician Bo Xilai was only briefly mentioned during the trials.In Japan, PM Yoshihiko Noda suffers from below 30 per cent approval rating. Noda also comes under pressure to hold another election soon; a deal he made in exchange to get his tax-cut bill passed in parliament.South Korea's Lee Myung-bak does not have it better. With elections looming, his approval ratings are at rock bottom, partly due to a series of corruption scandals, convicting a few of his closest aides and his brother."The governments hence see it necessary to take this opportunity to utilise nationalist passions to prevent being perceived as weak in the eyes of the electorate. In Lee's case, his visit to Takeshima/Dokdo Islands, which is also contested by Japan, have given some life to his approval ratings as it crept up 6 per cent.However, with relations more tense than ever, countries are in a tenuous situation where possible severe foreign policy repercussions could occur if provocative behaviour calculated to influence domestic politics takes precedence over diplomatic gestures.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Let none, in fear or hate
evermore shed blood in Our presence.
Grant us peace, the blessing above
all blessings we owe Ourselves.
Grant us peace that we may all
live in grace.
Attached is a scanned image of the old postal stamp I have kept for 30 years, from when I had a Jewish penpal in Israel.
Around that time, there was an integrated school somewhere in Israel or Palestine—so children of Jews and Palestinians could share the same classrooms.
I don't know that kind of education still exists, but I hope so.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
According to the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board’s (AERB) stipulations, a 1.6-km radius around a nuclear power plant should have no habitation, while the next 5-km radius should have a small density of population; in a 16-km radius population must not exceed 10,000. Two reactors, Unit-I and Unit-2, are ready for testing in December this year, but no rehabilitation has been carried out to date. Government after government has changed in Tamil Nadu and in New Delhi, but the plight of the people struggling against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant continues. The central government finally seems to have taken cognisance of the protests thanks to a letter from the Tamil Nadu chief minister. But people in and around Koodankulam village continue to live with the fear of nuclear risk and threat to livelihoods.The KNPP has its roots in the 1974 Pokhran [nuclear explosion] test conducted by India. Following the test, India came under the influence of the Soviet nuclear establishment because of its isolation from the West (the US had stopped fuel shipments to the Tarapur nuclear power plant after the 1974 test). Against this backdrop the nuclear deal with the Soviet Union was discussed as early as 1979 during Morarji Desai’s prime ministership. Finally, in 1988 the Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi signed the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project deal.This triggered opposition in and around Koodankulam. The proposal to draw water for the nuclear reactors from the nearby Pechiparai reservoir and to discharge waste water into the sea threatened the livelihoods of the people. In May 1989, around 10,000 people assembled to protest against the plant under the banner of the National Fish Workers’ Union (NFWU). During this protest, police opened fire and disconnected the mike, preventing anyone from speaking. However, the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev losing power and the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi stalled the Koodankulam nuclear power plant.
In the context of globalisation, government after government in India has pledged 8-9% growth rates. Such growth rates would naturally require more energy for consumption. Given increasing awareness of environmental issues, nuclear energy is often perceived as a viable alternative to high-polluting thermal power plants and big dams.
It is in this context that increased investments in nuclear power plants need to be seen. In spite of the high costs and risks involved, successive governments showed keen interest in pursuing nuclear energy.Such a pursuit of growth rates is putting an enormous burden on many people, particularly the marginalised sections of society – rural populations, tribals, dalits, women, the poor and others. Big projects like nuclear power plants are posing a threat to the livelihoods of these people, while putting them in a hazardous situation in the long run.
Japan's ongoing nuclear melt-throughs have not only shocked almost everyone in Japan into nuclear-free action, but have spurred others everywhere, including those were previously silent about the nuclear radiation in their backyards, and those who have long been actively resisting nuclear power, as the people of Koodankulam, to see the interconnections of nuclear issues across borders and to work for a nuclear-free world.
Friday, September 14, 2012
The Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival is the largest and most prestigious international film festival for documentary in Asia, and runs every other year in the northern Japanese city of Yamagata.
In the off-years, the festival brings a part of the previous year's screening program to Tokyo.
Close to 100 films will be screened during a festival period of Aug. 18 - Sept. 21 this summer at two Tokyo art house cinemas: Auditorium Shibuya and Pole Pole Higashi-nakano.
Most films will be screened with English subtitles, including many from Asia and Japan.
Venue: Aug. 18-31 Auditorium Shibuya http://a-shibuya.jp/
Sept. 1-21 Pole Pole Higashi-nakano
For details: www.cinematrix.jp/dds2012
For inquiry: 03-5362-0671 (Cinematrix)August 18 at 1until September 21 at 11:45pm in UTC+09
会期：8月18日〜31日 オーディトリウム渋谷 http://a-shibuya.jp/
9月1日〜21日 ポレポレ東中野 www.mmjp.or.jp/pole2
料金：当日1回券 一般=1400円 3回券 当日・前売=3600円
Via KJ Fresh Currents:
The Japanese government's commitment to a zero nuclear future is a significant step forward, but their ill-defined and somewhat distant deadline (sometime in the 2030s), and contradictory commitment to maintain the reprocessing program at Rokkasho cannot satisfy those who have been protesting each Friday since the controversial restarts in Fukui. The anti-nuclear movement has gained ground this week, but protests will continue until all the nuclear facilities are shut down for good. Here are the details for the Friday protests in Kansai (same time every week).
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Outside Kanden Kyoto
Thursday, September 13, 2012
The neighborhood in Tsukidate consists of both the old rice farming community, and the new evacuee community from the coast. The children were thus part of an event that brought both communities together.Evacuee residents from the neighboring temporary container housing were invited to join camp events...
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
18 months after 3/11 - 343,000 still living in temporary housing (mostly shipping containers) in Tohoku
Asahi reports:Tuesday marked the 1½-year anniversary of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters that devastated the Tohoku region, with confirmed deaths standing at 15,870 and 2,814 people still missing.An additional 1,632 people died of disaster-related causes, including fatigue and poor health while living in evacuation shelters.Some 343,000 people still live in about 136,000 temporary housing units, including private properties rented by the government...A population drain has been a major problem in the disaster zone because many who evacuated have started new lives elsewhere and have no plans to return.In Pacific coastal areas hit hard by the tsunami, authorities have been slow in preparing housing sites for collective relocation to safer ground.Reconstruction has been particularly slow in Fukushima Prefecture amid the triple-meltdown disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which spewed massive radioactive fallout. And the effectively nationalized Tepco has been slow to mete out damages payments.A number of municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture plan to construct "temporary towns" for evacuees to help them assemble outside their hometowns, but they have made scant progress.Official data show that about 71,000 people from Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures had evacuated outside their prefectures as of August, including about 61,000 from Fukushima alone.In Sendai, which is now home to more than 3,000 households of evacuees from outside the city, efforts have been made by the local social welfare council to put together residents hailing from the same localities...
As for homes for disaster victims, construction has begun on only 470 houses out of some 23,000 units planned to be built, while 24 homes have been completed. The construction of some 15,000 homes is not expected to be completed by the end of fiscal 2013, which is the deadline for evacuees to move out from temporary housing complexes. While some 21,500 homes in about 310 districts in 26 municipalities are planned to be relocated under the anti-disaster collective relocation promotion project, the relocation of only about 8,600 homes in some 150 districts in 18 municipalities has been given the green light from the central government.
...more than 300,000 people lost their habitual hometowns. These coastal people now mostly live in temporary container housing built for them by the government at the edge of towns and villages in the hilly interior of the country. However, little is done to socially integrate these displaced people into the culturally different rice-farming communities of the interior regions of northeastern Japan.
Photo: John Tubles, Archinect blogs
What I saw and photographed in June 2011 in Minamisanriku looked very temporary, clean and organized. We stopped there briefly to open our vans and many people emerged who appreciated the clothing, books, candy, food.What I heard was that some people rejected the design and the sterility of the environment, but for some, it is the only way to manage. I also saw the large water tanks and sewage systems that go with this setup. Camps (if that is the right word) are often located near schools or on other public land, but residents in the neighborhood (in normal housing, untouched by the tsunami) may have complaints too, I don't know. Obviously the entire supply side, including stores and banking and postal services are another huge issue.
However, Tubles adds that isolation is also an issue at this scenic site as well as Ban's project in Onagawa:
Both are away from any form of community amenities like shopping, civic buildings or place of work. Moreover locating housing communities on hilltops and making it a viable solution demands for higher density, therefore more housing units and adequate social spaces takes the back seat.
For example, when I visited the Onagawa housing facility, there are designated social spaces that were locked and not used because of the lack of managing personnel, and the main covered public space is only really utilized during market days which is once a week. So often young children are not out playing and socializing with neighbors instead they are limited within the confides of their housing units.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Gavan McCormack: "This is no longer an opposition movement but a prefecture in resistance, saying “No.”
Great issues are at stake in the Osprey contest and the 5 August Meeting. After four decades of lying to, discriminating against, and betraying Okinawa, time and again, decade after decade, the governments of Japan and the United States now seem to have provoked it to an intolerable degree. By determining to impose on it something that the people of Okinawa say they will not accept, they substitute authoritarianism for democracy...Two decades after the end of the Cold War, the relationship between Tokyo (backed by Washington) and Okinawa resembles nothing so much as that between Moscow and Budapest or Warsaw at the height of the Cold War. Okinawan views are as much respected and listened to in Tokyo and Washington today as once Hungarian and Polish sentiments were respected in Moscow.After decades of struggle, however, on these issues there is no longer an Okinawan “government” and “opposition.” Local government heads and assemblies, social and citizen groups are one, and it is the conservative Governor who suggests that if the Osprey are so safe they could be deployed to Hibiya Park or Shinjuku Gyoen. This is no longer an opposition movement but a prefecture in resistance, saying “No.” Japanese history has no precedent for this.There is of course much more at stake than the Osprey. The Okinawan movement that says “No” to the Osprey says “No” also to the Futenma substitution project at Nago and “No” to the Osprey Helipad construction project at Takae. It also is deeply sensitive to other signs of intention to militarize the Southwestern islands in general and turn it into a front-line of confrontation with China: to construct a new (Self-Defence Force) base on Yonaguni, to have US and Japanese forces gradually merge and share the existing bases (in the name of “bilateral cooperation”), and to turn Shimojishima airport on Miyako Island and Mageshima in Kagoshima Prefecture into bases.When the DPJ abandoned one by one its 2009 electoral pledges and began to morph into a clone LDP, mainland Japan sank into a stupor of political disillusion, but Okinawa returned to struggle with renewed energy...Today’s Okinawa struggle is a root a struggle over how Japan is governed and how it should be governed. In a rapidly changing world in which the US is losing both its economic and its moral authority, how can it be in the national interest for Japan to cling to its client state dependence on the United States and to steadily militarize? The anti-militarist Okinawan struggle constitutes a precious resource, pricking the national conscience and spurring mainland Japan to greater civic courage...
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Ryukyu Shimpo: "Okinawan people’s mass rally to reject Osprey deployment: Protect the sanctity of human life & become a cornerstone of peace"
For the people of Okinawa, today is the day of an historic mass rally. In this rally the young and the old, men and women and people of all walks of like will participate to express their opposition to the deployment of the MV-22 Osprey vertical take-off and landing transport aircraft to U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. People who value the spirit of democracy and the democratic process are filled with a sense of impending crisis. This thoroughly bipartisan rally will be the first motion that will culminate in a huge wave of opposition. The Okinawan people will not accept the “inherently defective aircraft” that threatens their lives, property, safety and security. Washington and Tokyo are advised to take this situation seriously, because people are standing up to take up action over the sanctity of life – the Government needs to understand that this rally is a committed cry of the people. Okinawans have applied themselves many times in various ways in an attempt to resolve base-related issues since the end of the war. Now, resentment towards the military-first policy that the governments of Japan and the United States have foist upon them has built up to a broader and deeper extent than ever before...After the war, Okinawa faced many difficulties because the U.S. military forces seized Okinawan people’s land at the point of a bayonet and bulldozed everything in its path to construct military bases. To add insult to injury, U.S. military personnel further trampled on Okinawan people’s human rights by raping Okinawan women. In 1959, a military aircraft crashed into Miyamori Elementary School in Ishikawa, killing 18 pupils.The deployment of the Osprey to Futenma essentially represents an “indiscriminate attack” on the Okinawan people among the many inhumane acts perpetrated in Okinawa by the U.S. military forces. If the Japanese and the U.S. government force the deployment of the Osprey aircraft on the prefecture, the Okinawan people will undoubtedly come to oppose not only the U.S. Marine Corps but all four arms of the U.S. military.There are 20 airspaces and 28 water areas used for training under the U.S. military administration around the islands of Okinawa Prefecture. Local people are not allowed to freely use the land, sea and sky that belong to Okinawa. Taking advantage of the Status of Forces Agreement, which grants privileges to the U.S. forces in Japan, U.S. forces exert extra-territorial rights to an inordinate extent. Does the U.S. government think that Okinawa is an American colony?After Okinawa’s reversion to Japanese sovereignty, there have been 522 accidents, including U.S. military aircraft crashing, or making emergency landings. Up until the end of December 2011 those accidents had caused 34 casualties with another 24 people missing. The fiery explosion of a U.S. Marine helicopter that crashed onto the campus of Okinawa International University in the summer of 2004 is still fresh in our minds...We cannot help but feel that the world is now asking us, the people of Okinawa, about our historical standpoint and our broader viewpoint. Japanese government leaders express rivalry with the emerging China. Should Okinawa play the role of the cornerstone of the Pacific from a military standpoint, or should we play the role of the cornerstone of the Pacific from a peaceful perspective in order to serve as a bridge between Asian nations. We would like the people of Okinawa to think of this rally as the starting point for action that shapes a future of their choice.
The Okinawa Prefectural Citizens’ Rally Against Osprey Deployment: ResolutionWe are gathered here today to protest with indignation against the forceful deployment of the vertical take-off and landing transport aircraft, the MV-22 Osprey, and to call for the withdrawal of its deployment plans.Due to the presence of the US forces’ bases, the citizens of Okinawa prefecture have been imposed with a multitude of damages related to military facilities. Looking just at the years since the reversion of Okinawa to Japan in 1972, the number of criminal cases involving US military personnel and/or other related persons has reached close to 6,000. At present, incidents, accidents, and noise damage related to the US forces still continue.With the abduction and rape of a local schoolgirl by three US servicemen in September of 1995, The Okinawan People’s Rally was held in October of the same year where 85,000 citizens gathered to voice their anger and protest against the US forces. In response to the strong protest by the people, the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) was established, and both governments of Japan and the United States agreed to the full return of MCAS Futenma.However, it has been 16 years since the agreement was concluded and MCAS Futenma still remains in the middle of a densely populated urban area and continues to threaten the lives and assets of the Okinawan people.Against this background, the United States government gave notice that the “structurally defective” Osprey aircraft is going to be deployed to the dangerous facility of MCAS Futenma, and these aircraft have already been unloaded at MCAS Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Furthermore, it has become apparent that the Osprey would be in operation not just at MCAS Futenma, but also in training at Kadena Air Force Base and at the Northern Training Area. With the risks of crashes, accidents, and noise issues resulting from the training and operation of the Osprey which spans throughout all of Okinawa, the concern, anxiety and indignation of the citizens have risen to unprecedented levels.The Osprey has had repeated accidents since its development stages and has caused a large number of fatalities. We have even seen this year, the crashes in Morocco and in the State of Florida. Experts are citing its structural deficiencies and thus, we cannot accept the Osprey deployment without sound confirmation of its safety.The citizens of Okinawa adamantly oppose further burdens imposed by the military bases. Moreover, if the national government ignores the calls of the people of the prefecture, we declare that we will work to unite the general consensus of the prefecture’s citizens opposing the bases.We strongly urge both governments of Japan and the United States to take seriously and sincerely the indomitable resolve of the citizens against the Osprey deployment and to immediately withdraw the deployment plans, and to close and remove MCAS Futenma.The above is resolved as stated on this 9th day of September, 2012.The Okinawa Prefectural Citizens’ Rally Against Osprey Deploymentオスプレイ配備に反対する沖縄県民大会」大会決議文我々は、本日、日米両政府による垂直離着陸輸送機ＭＶ２２オスプレイ強行配備に対し、怒りを込めて抗議し、その撤回を求めるためにここに集まった。沖縄県民は、米軍基地の存在ゆえに幾多の基地被害をこうむり、１９７２年の復帰後だけでも、米軍人等の刑法犯罪件数が６，０００件近くに上るなど、米軍による事件・事故、騒音被害も後を絶たない状況である。１９９５年９月に、米海兵隊員３人による少女暴行事件が起こり、同年１０月には事件に抗議する県民総決起大会が行われ、８万５千人もの県民が参加し、米軍に対する怒りと抗議の声を上げた。県民の強い抗議の声に押され、日米両政府は、１９９６年の日米特別行動委員会（ＳＡＣＯ）により米軍普天間基地の全面返還の合意を行った。しかし、合意から１６年たった今日なお、米軍普天間基地は市街地の真ん中に居座り続け、県民の生命・財産を脅かしている。そのような中、日米両政府は、この危険な米軍普天間基地に「構造的欠陥機」であるオスプレイを配備すると通告し、既に山口県岩国基地に陸揚げがなされている。さらに、オスプレイは米軍普天間基地のみでなく、嘉手納基地や北部訓練場など、沖縄全域で訓練と運用を実施することが明らかとなっており、騒音や墜落などの危険により、県民の不安と怒りはかつてないほど高まっている。オスプレイは開発段階から事故をくり返し、多数に上る死者を出し、今年に入ってからもモロッコやフロリダ州で墜落事故を起こしている構造的欠陥機であることは、専門家も指摘しているところであり、安全性が確認できないオスプレイ配備は、到底容認できるものではない。沖縄県民はこれ以上の基地負担を断固として拒否する。そして県民の声を政府が無視するのであれば、我々は、基地反対の県民の総意をまとめ上げていくことを表明するものである。日米両政府は、我々県民のオスプレイ配備反対の不退転の決意を真摯に受け止め、オスプレイ配備計画を直ちに撤回し、同時に米軍普天間基地を閉鎖・撤去するよう強く要求する。以上、決議する。２０１２年９月９日オスプレイ配備に反対する沖縄県民大会
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Okinawa and disaster-struck Tohoku region sacrificed for Tokyo: Okinawan novelistIt was through Tatsuhiro Oshiro's collection of stories, "Hatsukayo," that I learned that hibiscus have a special place in the culture of Okinawa. I had arrived in Japan's southernmost prefecture amidst a festival celebrating the New Year in the afterlife, and the sight of people placing offerings of hibiscus -- known as "flowers of the afterlife" -- on their ancestors' graves in the cold rain was something to behold. It overlapped with Okinawa's tragic history.Newspaper headlines that day were all about the U.S. military realignment, including the transfer of U.S. troops to Guam and the Futenma air station relocation issue."The papers here are like this all the time," Oshiro, 86, said as he glanced at the headlines. "I wrote some 20 years ago that Okinawa was a domestic colony, and I wondered at first if I'd gone too far. But these days, the expression 'domestic (internal) colony' has become widely accepted."Looking over at the window, Oshiro continued: "It's cold these days, so I bury myself under the covers and wonder whether the people living in the disaster areas (in the Tohoku region) are warm enough. Who would've thought that Okinawa and the Tohoku region would be linked this way in solidarity?"Oshiro says that the Tohoku region holds a special place in his heart. When he attended the award ceremony in Tokyo for the Akutagawa Prize, which he received for his novel "Cocktail Party," he had also traveled through Fukushima on the suggestion of a former college classmate.So what is the "new solidarity" this writer -- who for years has focused on the suffering of Okinawa -- talking about? The answer is this: sacrifice that state power imposes on the weak. In other words, political discrimination.The islands have been a part of Japan only since the late 1800s, when the Meiji government annexed the Ryukyu Kingdom and eventually renamed it Okinawa Prefecture. After the San Francisco Peace Treaty and the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty were signed in 1951, Okinawa Prefecture was put under U.S. military administration. As a result, while Okinawa constituted a mere 0.6 percent of Japan's land area, more than 70 percent of U.S. military bases in Japan were built there. Meanwhile, the Tohoku region, which relied heavily on the agricultural and natural resource industries, became an enormous source of labor for Tokyo. Furthermore, the electrical power produced by nuclear power plants that have been built in high concentrations in de-populated areas has not benefitted local communities, but rather Tokyo and other major metropolitan areas.Both the numerous incidents and accidents that occur because of the military bases in Okinawa and the dangers of nuclear disasters in Tohoku have ostensibly been set off with massive subsidies handed out to local communities. However, we've arrived at a point now where we can no longer overlook the history of the weak being placed at the mercy of national policies, or the contradictions and inconsistencies that have long been left unaddressed."This imposition of sacrifice is a carrot-or-stick situation," Oshiro said. "To change this situation, there's nothing but for Diet members from Okinawa to do their job well..."It was when Oshiro refolded his arms over his chest that a deafening roar was heard outside."That's a military plane," Oshiro explained. "They're always flying above, so this area's been designated as a noise pollution area. The nearby Shuri Junior High School is a soundproof facility. There are times when the planes fly even lower, and we have to stop talking altogether." This, I learned, was Okinawa's reality.Last year, Oshiro published "Futenma yo" (To Futenma), a book of short stories. In the first story, whose title is that of the book, Oshiro eagerly tackles the Futenma relocation through a family who lives near the air station.The story reaches its climax when the musical accompaniment to a Ryukyu dance is drowned out by the noise from U.S. helicopters, but our heroine continues to perform. Her determination symbolizes the local culture that refuses to be defeated by the heavy burdens of military bases. At the same time, however, the heroine's grandmother's plan to find a family heirloom buried on ancestral lands that have been seized by the U.S. military ends in failure.In the book, Oshiro addresses uncompromising will and crushed hopes. "These two extremes represent the essence of the military base issue," Oshiro said. "My intention was to write about the identity of the Okinawan people who want to weave our history together and regain the land that's steeped with memories."The Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami and nuclear disaster have forced many people from the Tohoku region from their homelands. Asked whether this tragedy is something that can be shared with Okinawa, Oshiro rips open a package to reveal the March issue of the literary journal Bungakukai. It features a debate between two of Oshiro's acquaintances -- Fukushima resident, novelist and monk Sokyu Genyu and former foreign ministry official Masaru Sato -- in a section titled "Interpreting 'Japan' through Fukushima and Okinawa."Oshiro said: "I think it was Jan. 9 that Genyu stopped by here when he was in Okinawa to give a lecture. That's when he told me about his interview with Sato. Genyu said, "We have to do something that puts us in confrontation with the state.'"In the magazine interview, Genyu said there was a parallel between the proposed construction of an intermediate storage facility for radioactive waste in Fukushima and the issue of U.S. military bases. Here, too, the government's failure to act has already led partly to the imposition of sacrifices. Amid the ongoing political confusion in Japan, is there any reason not to be pessimistic?"Japanese people have grown accustomed to luxuries in their everyday lives, right? I wonder if an ideology or policy that will trim off the excess fat and desires from our lives won't emerge," he said. "But my outlook is not grim."Asked why, Oshiro responded: "After the massive earthquake, those in the disaster areas didn't panic, and have been acting levelheadedly while being considerate of each other. That's hopeful. There's a very old concept of mutual support in Okinawa, too, called 'yuimaru.' If we're able to foster this spirit around the country, I believe that we'll be able to build a new kind of civilization."Suddenly, instead of the roar of military jets, birds could be heard chirping outside.After the interview, I got into a car driven by a local friend of mine, heading toward U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan. The city was in the midst of mayoral elections, and candidates and their campaign crews drove around, loudly appealing to voters for their support."Look, it's a KC130 refueling aircraft!" my friend said, suddenly. "It's a touch-and-go landing."We watched as a dark aircraft made a sharp dive in the air right above us. Its explosive noise drowned out election pledges being shouted through amplifiers. This was everyday life here, I thought. Experiencing, if just for a moment, the "sacrifice being imposed on the weak," I was struck again by the weight of Oshiro's words.(By Yudai Nakazawa, Evening Edition Department)
Friday, September 7, 2012
WAM Exhibition: "Comfort Stations in Okinawa & Sexual Violence by U.S. Forces" • June 23, 2012 - July 30, 2013 • Tokyo
Kyodo correspondent Keiji Hirano's "Exhibition portrays Okinawa's wartime sex slaves" covers the Women's Active Museum's exhibition on wartime Japanese military sexual slavery and postwar US military sexual assaults in Okinawa. The exhibition's opening in June coincided with the 40th anniversary of Okinawa's ostensible reversion to Japan:
In a yearlong exhibition through next June, the Women's Active Museum on War and Peace shows there were at least 145 "comfort stations" in the islands, at which women not only from Japan but also from Korea and Taiwan were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.The exhibition was also held in Okinawa through mid-July.
The exhibition, "Comfort Stations in Okinawa and Sexual Violence by U.S. Forces," also introduces testimonies from 300 Okinawa women who were sexually assaulted by U.S. military personnel in the postwar era, although they are believed to be just the tip of the iceberg.
"We hope to show that women have faced sexual violence by military forces in Okinawa in wartime as well as even in the postwar period," said Mina Watanabe, secretary general of the museum known as WAM."We expect visitors to the exhibition to be aware this has resulted in Japan's creation of comfort stations and its policy of forcing the bulk of U.S. military bases in Japan on Okinawa," she said.
The findings presented on more than 30 panels at the exhibition are based mainly on decades of research by historians, activists and journalists, who examined documents compiled by the Japanese military and municipalities of Okinawa while collecting testimonies of those who lived near the comfort stations and witnessed the exploitation of women, the organizers said...''
A panel quotes a history book compiled by the municipal government of Yomitan: "There were four Korean comfort women. On holidays, soldiers stood in line (in front of a comfort station) from daytime, leading the village residents to turn their eyes away from them."
A Haebaru resident remembers a girl aged around 13, who served as a nanny in the daytime and as a "comfort woman" in the evening, saying, "She sometimes innocently showed me money that she received from soldiers," another panel indicates.
Comfort stations were built even in remote islands, with Tokashiki Island, now a major diving spot, having seven Korean comfort women aged 16 to 30.
Among them was Bae Bong Gi, who was taken to the island from Korea in 1944, and forced to provide sex under the Japanese name, "Akiko."
She remained in Okinawa even after the end of the war and engaged in marginal work. Suffering headaches and nerve pain in old age, she died in 1991 at the age of 77 without returning home. Another of the seven on Tokashiki, meanwhile, died in a U.S. attack at the end of the war.
While Bae talked about her life in interviews before her death, "many women remained unable to come out," Watanabe said...
Thursday, September 6, 2012
"This is not an issue of Japan-Korea relations," he said. "It's an issue of how war can infringe on the human rights of women who are the most vulnerable members of society. Japanese prostitutes were also taken (to other parts of Asia) as comfort women, and their rights were significantly trampled upon as well."
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Statement of protest against the sexual assault on an Okinawan woman by a US Marine Corps serviceman, & demand for withdrawal of US Military Forces
Hirokazu Nakaima, Govenor of Okinawa Prefecture
Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister
Koichiro Genba, Foreign Minister
Satoshi Morimoto, Defense Minister
Barack Obama, President of the United States
John V. Roos, U.S. Ambassador to Japan
Kenneth Glueck, Okinawa Area Coordinator and Commanding General of III Marine Expeditionary Force
Alfred Magleby, U.S. Consul General of Naha, Okinawa
Monday, August 20, 2012
Statement of protest against the sexual assault on an Okinawan woman by a US Marine Corps serviceman, and demand for withdrawal of US Military Forces
We, residents of Okinawa, and women of Okinawa, who have long suffered from imposition of US military bases and troops on this island, are deeply shocked and outraged over the sexual assault on the woman, resulting in injury, which happened at 4:30 AM on August 18.
The offender, a US marine, knocked the woman down on the street as she was on her way home, and assaulted her. Local residents heard her scream, and the offender has been arrested, but the pain and fear of the victim is immeasurable, causing serious anxiety in local communities. We must also remember that many such crimes are left unreported.
Why are US combat personnel allowed to freely roam around outside of the bases and enter local neighborhoods? Why is the provision of a safe living environment for women and children not treated seriously?
According to a newspaper report on July 6, 2012 (Ryukyu Shimpo), the number of sexual assaults against female service members within the US Marine Corps as a whole last year was three hundred and forty-six, sixty-seven of which were committed by Marine Corps members based in Okinawa, the second highest in all US Marine Corps bases. We were appalled that the rate of such crimes [in Okinawa] was twice of those of the other bases, and this does not even include sexual crimes against Okinawan women.
The US military in June 2010 placed an indefinite midnight curfew on military personnel, in response to the frequent occurrences of fatal hit-and-run accidents and taxi robberies. This present case shows that such disciplinary measure by the US military has been gradually dropped.
Together with the risk posed by the MV-22 Osprey deployment in Okinawa, we must raise awareness about the continuing threat posed by the US military and call for their removal.Based on the stance that “Armies are organizations of structural violence, not providing true security either at local or inter-state level,” we demand the following:
• Respect for the privacy of the woman victim, and physical and psychological care for her.
• Apology to be issued to the woman victim and the offender to be strictly punished.
• Banning of all off-base activities of all US military personnel, in order to secure safe living environments for women and children.
• Withdrawal of all US military bases and troops from Okinawa.
Suzuyo Takazato and Keiko Itokazu, Co-Chairs
Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence (OWAAMV)
3-29-41-402, Kumoji, Naha-shi, Okinawa Prefecture 900-0015
Phone & Fax: (+81) 098-864-1539
「とても許せる話ではない」 仲井真知事、来訪の米総領事に抗議 強制わいせつ事件（琉球新報８月２０日）
沖縄県知事 仲井真弘多 殿
内閣総理大臣 野田佳彦 殿
外務大臣 玄葉光一郎 殿
防衛大臣 森本敏 殿
アメリカ合衆国 オバマ大統領 殿
駐日米大使 ジョン・Ｖ・ルース 殿
在沖四軍調整官 ケネス・グリューク 殿
共同代表 高里鈴代 糸数慶子
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
...Article 9 is one of the most important provisions in the Japanese Constitution. Three principles of idealism permeate it throughout: pacifism, liberty and democracy. Article 9 embodies man's universal aspirations for peace. I think Article 9 was postwar Japan's manifestation of its deep regret for what it had done during the war.But look at what the U.S. government has done since Japan's new Constitution was promulgated and came into force in 1947. It has forced Japan to rearm, compelled police reserve forces-turned self-defense forces to act as a real army and, more often than not, called on Japan, either openly or under cover, to revise its Constitution so that Japan could engage in a "collective defense" and fight a global war along with U.S. forces.All nations, not to mention the U.S. and Kolb's Austria, should add an Article 9-like provision to their constitutions. It's not a worthless article as Kolb suggests. Rather, it's a star of hope every nation should aspire to. Japan should be proud of possessing it.
Yoshio Shimoji, born in Miyako Island, Okinawa, M.S. (Georgetown University), taught English and English linguistics at the University of the Ryukyus from April 1966 until his retirement in March 2003. He is a contributor to The Japan Times and The Asia-Pacific Journal.
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) published its new draft constitutional amendment proposal in late April. The draft reflects a number of significant changes above and beyond those advanced in the proposal unveiled by the LDP in 2005. The proposal includes a complete overhaul of Article 9, the war-renouncing provision of Japan's so-called Peace Constitution. These changes to Article 9 are important, and on balance, dangerous...As such, the changes would utterly undermine the normative power of the third pillar of the Japanese constitutional order — that is, the principle of pacifism and nonuse of force. For those who believe that this core principle of Japan's constitution has served it well over the last 65 years, it is important to understand the ramifications, and indeed the real intent, of the LDP's amendment proposals.
Monday, September 3, 2012
Via Robert Redford & Save Jeju Now:
From: Robert RedfordTo: All of your peopleSubject: Tell Environmentalists & IUCN: No Base on Jeju IslandDear Friends of Jeju Island,From September 6-15, some 10,000 environmentalists will converge on Jeju Island to attend the World Conservation Congress (WCC) organized by the oldest environmental organization, the International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN’s slogan is that it promotes “a just world that values and conserves nature.” If recent actions are any indication, nothing could be further from the truth.The WCC will take place only a few minutes away from Gangjeong where the construction of a naval base is threatening one of the planet’s most spectacular soft coral forests and other coastal treasures, assaulting numerous endangered species and destroying a 400-year old sustainable community of local farmers and fishers.Unfortunately, the IUCN leadership has ignored or whitewashed the naval base.Instead of condemning the South Korean government’s actions, IUCN Director-General Julia Marton-Lafevre praised its seriously flawed “Environmental Impact Assessment” (EIA) for the base project, which ignored critically endangered species, missed crucial impacts upon 40 species of soft coral, including nine that are seriously endangered, and five that are already protected by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). This naval base is being built just 0.13 miles from a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Tiger Island.Take action now and sign this petition to the IUCN Director-General, Julia Marton-Lefevre urging the IUCN to condemn the base construction.While Gangjeong villagers trying to protect their treasured natural resources are subjected to daily police beatings and arrests, the IUCN has still failed to acknowledge the environmental or human-rights violations. One can’t help but wonder if this is because the WCC convention is partly financed by the very corporations building the military base, notably Samsung. Learn more about how you can help support an independent EIA and the villagers' struggle at http://www.savejejunow.org.Instead of inviting dialogue, the IUCN conference organizers have suppressed it. In an official letter from IUCN leadership – with no explanation -- it blocked the villagers from even having a small information booth at the conference.You can help give voice to the Gangjeong villagers who have been beaten and silenced by their own government, and now kept out by the world’s largest environmental organization. Add your name to this letter to IUCN Director-General, Julia Marton-Lefevre, to be hand delivered by Gangjeong village Mayor Kang Dong-kyun at the IUCN Congress.For peace and protection of our planet,Robert RedfordActor, Director and Environmental ActivistP.S. Gangjeong village Mayor Kang Dong-kyun needs thousands with him when he delivers the petition to the IUCN Director General. Take one minute now and stand with him and the villagers fighting for the endangered species, coral reefs and their 400-year ecologically sustainable village! Petition: http://signon.org/sign/iucn-stop-environmental?source=s.icn.em.cr&r_by=417614&mailing_id=5784
Sunday, September 2, 2012
LESSONS FROM FUKUSHIMA
What all involved in nuclear power must learn from the Fukushima Daiichi accident.
Lecture and Q&A in English, with Japanese translation.
Arnie Gundersen has 40-years of nuclear power engineering experience. He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) where he earned his Bachelor Degree cum laude while also becoming the recipient of a prestigious Atomic Energy Commission Fellowship for his Master Degree in nuclear engineering.
Arnie holds a nuclear safety patent, was a licensed reactor operator, and is a former nuclear industry senior vice president. During his nuclear power industry career, Arnie also managed and coordinated projects at 70-nuclear power plants in the US. Arnie is the chief engineer for Fairewinds Associates, Inc.
Date & Time: Monday September 3rd: 18:00~20:45 at Heartopia Kyoto
Entry: 500 yen (students: 300 yen)
Children under junior high age free
NO RESERVATIONS NECESSARY!
Directions: Heartopia is just a minute walk from Marutamachi Station on Subway Karasuma Line (which you can take from JR Kyoto Station). From Kyoto station the train will take approximately 7 minutes / is 4 stops. Just go out from Exit #5 of Marutamachi station, and you will be standing just below the building of Heartopia Kyoto. Take the Heartopia Kyoto elevator to the 3rd floor. Here is a map.
Deep Kyoto is a reliable source of important event (and dining!) information for those in the Kyoto area. Rather than reinvent the wheel, we are reposting DK's post on this critical event tonight. See you there!- Jen