Monday, May 25, 2015

Okinawa Delegation's visit to Hawai'i & Washington - May 27 to June 4, 2015: Appeal to end use of brute force ("Bayonets & Bulldozers") to build US base at coral reef & dugong ecosystem in Okinawa

Americans welcome the Okinawa Delegation to Washington on June 1. 

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga will visit O'ahu from May 27-29, then Washington DC from May 31-June 4.  The Okinawa governor is taking  the Okinawa people's voice to the US  concerning the US-Japan planned landfill and military port/offshore air strip construction at Okinawa's most important natural cultural heritage site, the coral reef and dugong ecosystem at Henoko.

Eric Wada at Hawai'i-based Ukwanshin Kabudan/ Ryukyu Performing Arts Troupe describes the irreplaceable cultural heritage under threat of destruction by the US and Japanese governments. In 1945, the US-Japan bombing and ground war in Okinawa destroyed   almost all of Okinawa's rich material cultural heritage (dating back to Jomon, Ryukyuan Kingdom, Silk Road eras).
His talk will include things that are affecting our ancestral islands, history, culture and economics, as well as the fight to preserve one of the most pristine coral reefs in the world. This important event is for everyone who loves Okinawa. If you are active in the performing arts, culture, or researcher, it is a definite kuleana for you to attend this meeting as it affects the sacred places, and areas that are mentioned in the music, dances, and chants or the area that will be destroyed.

In Hawai`i, we hear "kuleana". In Uchinaaguchi, we say "Fichi Ukiin". "Fichi" means to contact or assist. "Ukiin", means to accept, be given, or rise up. When we put this together, it means to assist and rise up. Be responsible. It is not just responsibility for our own self, but it is responsibility for what is around us and what we are connected to that helps to sustain our lives, culture, language, and history. We are connected to Okinawa though our blood, so we are also connected to and have "Fichi Ukiin". Be responsible in caring and aloha for what has been passed down by our ancestors...

Yutasarugutu unigeesabira!
Analysis and News:

"Time for the US Military to Leave Okinawa" with Mayor Susumu Inamine and Professor Steve Rabson at
Recently we met with a delegation of mayors from Okinawa who came to the United States because the US is building a very large military base in Henoko that will destroy ecologically sensitive areas and that is not wanted by the people of Okinawa.

Through opinion polls, the election of politicians who are opposed to the base and persistent nonviolent direct action, Okinawans are making it clear that they are not supportive of a continued US military presence there.

With less than 1% of Japan's land mass, Okinawa is home to 74% of the US military in Japan. We air a recorded interview with Mayor Susumu Inamine of Nago City in Okinawa where the Henoko Base is being built. Then we speak with Professor Steve Rabson who studies and writes about the situation in Okinawa.
Analysis by Washington-Tokyo insider analyst Peter Ennis at Dispatch Japan: "For Governor Takeshi Onaga of Okinawa, determination grows to stop construction of a new US Marine facility":
Can Onaga really stop the Henoko project? The governor knows that if the issue comes down to brute force, there is little he can do to stop a determined central government.

...Governor Onaga also knows that if the impasse over the Henoko project boils down to a battle in the courts, Okinawa will almost surely lose. He has been pursuing a  four-part strategy that ultimately rests on mobilizing large demonstrations of public opposition that might force Washington and Tokyo to reconsider.
"[Okinawa Crying Out 沖縄は叫ぶ1]Japan and U.S. Refuse to Accept Public Opposition‐Continue Base Construction," Okinawa Times, May 26, 2015:
t has been 70 years since World War II ended, and 43 years since Okinawa reverted to Japan. Still today, the percentage of facilities exclusively for use by the US military and clustered in Okinawa comprise 74% of all such facilities in Japan. In response to the overburden of US military bases along with the endless incidents and accidents arising because of these bases, prefectural residents have voiced their anger, demanded this burden be reduced, and pleaded for the return of their expropriated land...

... Okinawa continues to raise its voice so that a new base will not be built, so that the dugong, coral and the precious ecosystem in the waters off Henoko are protected, and so that people both in Japan and around the world focus their attention on just what democracy and the will of the people mean.
"Governor Onaga heads to Washington to seek cancellation of new base," Hideki Matsudo, Ryukyu Shimpo, May 25, 2015:
The Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga will visit the United States from May 27 to June 5...The Governor will request that the U.S. government, which has left Okinawa with the excessive burden of hosting the bulk of Japan’s U.S. bases for 70 years after the war and is potentially introducing an additional burden to the island, to give up the current building plan.
"Governor Onaga tells foreign media: Tokyo’s Henoko policy is like US policy during occupation," Ryukyu Shimpo, May 23, 2015:
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga on May 20 held press conferences at the Japan National Press Club and the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo.

“They are using bayonets and bulldozers to forcibly build a military base in the sea,” he said referring to how the governments of Japan and the United States are pushing forward with preparation work for a new U.S. base in Henoko, Nago...The governor criticized the central government for its heavy-handed approach, comparing it to the way the U.S. military confiscated land [50,000+acres, displacing 250,000 Okinawans from their homes, farms  and means of livelihood] to build bases during the U.S. occupation of Okinawa...

Onaga stated, “In theory, the former governor’s landfill approval can legally be withdrawn or cancelled. I will exercise the governor’s authority effectively. Working together with Nago Mayor, I will not allow the U.S. base to be built in Henoko. We can stop it.”
"Okinawa governor’s words on U.S. rule galvanizing base opponents,"Seinosuke Iwasaki, The Asahi, May 14, 2015:
1955 protest against US military seizures and demolition of homes, farms, and cultural properties. 
The banner says money lasts for one year, but land lasts for 10,000 years. 
(Via Asahi via the Okinawa Prefectural Archives) 

Kazuo Senaga, who heads the secretariat of a citizens group opposing U.S. bases, said he identified with Onaga when the governor said, “Okinawa has never voluntarily offered land for building a U.S. military base.” Senaga’s grandfather is Kamejiro Senaga (1907-2001), former Naha mayor who later became a member of the Lower House.

In 1956, the U.S. side attempted to effectively buy [forcibly seized privately owned] land for bases by offering to pay the lease in full, in line with what is known as the “Price Recommendations” by Congressman Melvin Price, who chaired a special subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee, House of Representatives.  

But Kamejiro’s vehement opposition to the move sparked a widespread anti-U.S. military movement on the island, forcing U.S. authorities to drop the plan. The mass protest was staged although impoverished Okinawans needed the money.
Law experts: It’s possible to cancel approval of new U.S military base construction, Ryukyu Shimpo, May 1, 2015: Tsutomu Arakaki said, “The landfill approval falls within the realm of statutory commissioned affairs. The Okinawa Governor has jurisdiction over this matter.” Arakaki went on to say, “It is possible to cancel the approval now, even before a third party committee set up by the Okinawa Prefectural Government has finished scrutinizing its validity.”

As well as the written opinion, the committee members filed documents on countermeasures which the Okinawa Prefectural Government could take if the Japanese government challenged the cancellation.
"Unofficial translation/summary of Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga's response to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga at their April 5, 2015 meeting," TTT, April 9, 2015:
Okinawa has never voluntarily provided bases. Futenma, and all other bases, were taken with 'Bayonets and Bulldozers' while Okinawans were in concentration camps during and after the war...

It is the power of the Okinawan people... our pride, our confidence, and our thoughts for our children and grandchildren, coming together. It is impossible to build the base. And the Japanese government bears the entire responsibility for any costs associated with cancellation of this base. The world is watching this test of Japanese democracy.
Japanese photojournalism magazine DAYS JAPAN March 2015 cover story
 documents Tokyo's use of military force against Henoko residents 
protesting survey drilling  at Henoko's coral reef and dugong ecoystem, 
Okinawa's most important natural cultural heritage site.
(Photo: Aki Uehara)

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