Tuesday, June 23, 2015

70th anniversary of the official (not actual) end of the US-Japan Battle of Okinawa

"Map of the Battle of Okinawa," by Iri Maruki and Toshi Maruki. 
Survivors of the US-Jp ground war in Okinawa, are depicted in the panels.
The painting is exhibited in the Sakima Art Museum in Ginowan City, Okinawa. 
Via Hiroshima Peace Media's Peace Museums of the World website
The story of Okinawa proves nothing is crueler, nothing is less honorable than war.

Those who know what happened here cannot, in good conscience, support or glorify killing.

And while it's true that people start wars, it is equally true that people can try not to start them.

Since the battle, we have hated all war and have known that we must nurture the spirit of peace without any arms in Okinawa.

So this is our belief, gained at great expense, and we will not yield, whatever the personal cost.

- Final words found in the exhibits of the Okinawan Prefectural Peace Museum.

"The war is still going on for the people of Okinawa," Masahide Ota, Magazine 9:
In Okinawa, many people who went through extreme conditions under the war are even now experiencing extreme anxiety and depression.

The remains of 4000-5000 dead Okinawans have yet to be collected.

Unexploded bombs are all over, without being treated. Some experts says that it will take 50-60 more years to complete the treatment of unexploded bombs of the battles in Okinawa.

Not only that, even after the war, at least 5,200 Okinawans have been the victims of crimes committed by American soldiers.

Thus the war is still going on for the people in Okinawa.

Why shall we start preparing for a new war, while the old war is not over yet?

I truly don’t understand.

((OTA Masahide was governor of Okinawa prefecture from 1990 to 1998 and is Chairman of Ota Peace Research Institute. He has written 60 Books about Battle of Okinawa.)
"Harsh truth of blood and tears eludes many when they think of Okinawa," Atsushi Matsukawa (interview with Kazuhiko Taketomi, editor in chief of The Okinawa Times), The Asahi Shimbun, June 24, 2015:
Referring to World War II, Emperor Akihito spoke of four specific days that he must always “remember.”

Those days are: Aug. 15, when Japan announced its surrender; Aug. 6, when the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima; Aug. 9, when Nagasaki was flattened by a second atomic bomb; and June 23, when the collective fighting by the Japanese defenders in the Battle of Okinawa ended after the suicide of the supreme commander.

Although the first three days are renowned, the last is not...

 I would like the people in the Japanese mainland to realize that the U.S. base issue in Okinawa is effectively an extension of the three-month Battle of Okinawa.

That fighting involved the island’s civilians, and Okinawans have been trapped in absurd situations ever since.

The land of the people was seized to build many U.S. bases.

While U.S. military aircraft freely fly in the air space of Okinawa, the prefecture has been plagued by accidents and incidents involving American servicemen.

When Okinawans request that a new base to take over the functions of the Futenma airfield should not be constructed in the prefecture, the authorities insist, “You should come up with an alternative if you don’t like the central government project.”

This is unjust.
"Irei no hi 2015," John Potter, The Power of Okinawa: Roots Music for the Ryukyus, June 23, 2015:
As usual, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the ceremony and made a familiar speech full of platitudes while not really addressing the current situation in Okinawa at all. His speech, delivered in a monotone, was met with lukewarm applause and some heckling along the way. In contrast, Okinawa’s Governor Takeshi Onaga made an impassioned speech which included the following:
“To begin with, regarding Futenma Air Station whose land was forcibly expropriated from us against our will and which is said to be the most dangerous base in the world, the indefinite use of MCAS Futenma must not be endured. To the people of Okinawa, the notion that ‘Futenma will be relocated to Henoko to eliminate the danger posed by Futenma’, and that ‘if Okinawa does not like the Henoko plan, Okinawa should come up with an alternative plan’ is totally unacceptable.”

“We cannot establish a foundation of peace unless the central government impartially guarantees freedom, equality, human rights and democracy to the people.”

Monday, June 15, 2015

Japanese Scholars: "Now, 70 years after the war, Japan stands at a critical juncture. One path is that of a nation that does not wage war. The other, a nation that wages war."

Appeal by the Association of Scholars Opposed to the Security-related Bills:
Today, 70 years after the war, Japan stands at a critical juncture. One path is that of a nation that does not wage war. The other, a nation that wages war. The Abe administration has submitted an International Peace Support Bill and an omnibus Peace and Security Legislation Consolidation Bill amending 10 war-related laws for the worse to the Diet, where they are currently being deliberated. Violating Article 9 of the Constitution, these bills would provide for Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to cooperate actively with U.S. and other foreign military operations overseas. We very strongly appeal for the Diet to consider them most carefully and to defeat them in keeping with the Constitution.

If adopted, the legislation would allow (1) using military force, even if Japan is not attacked, if another nation is attacked and the administration deems this situation a threat to Japan’s survival, (2) sending SDF units anywhere in the world where the U.S. or other militaries are waging war and having them provide support in close proximity to combat zones, and (3) deploying the SDF alongside U.S. and other allied forces and authorizing them to fire their weapons ostensibly in defense of their military and other supplies.

Although Prime Minister Abe contends the use of military force would be limited, the legislation opens the way for unbridled use of force by the SDF and violates the principle of exclusively self-defense. Anywhere the SDF uses military force will automatically become a combat zone. As such, the bills are in clear violation of Article 9 paragraph 1’s prohibition against the use of force in combat. For over 60 years, successive administrations have understood that the exercise of collective self-defense violates the Constitution, yet the Abe administration seeks to overturn this and pave the way for Japan’s SDF to take part in American wars of aggression. Should this legislation pass, there is a very real danger that Japan could become a party to hostilities and the SDF an army of aggression in violation of international law.

We bear a special historical burden in that universities collaborated with Japan’s war of aggression and sent numerous students off to battle. Profoundly repentant of this history, we have adopted Article 9 as our own, have engaged in research and education as the bedrock for world peace, and have worked so as to never again be visited by the horrors of war. We cannot allow a situation to arise anew in which our young people are sent off to war to kill and be killed.

In the name of scholarship and conscience, we most strongly protest this unconstitutional legislation’s having been submitted to the Diet and are appalled it is even being deliberated by the Diet. We stand in resolute opposition to this legislation.

June 15, 2015
Association of Scholars Opposed to the Security-related Bills

Aoi Miho (Gakushuin University, law)
Asakura Mutsuko (Waseda University, law)
Awaji Takehisa (Rikkyo University, civil law lawyer)
Chiba Shin (International Christian University, political thought)
Hama Noriko (Doshisha University, international economics)
Higuchi Yoichi (constitutional law, Japan Academy member)
Hirota Teruyuki (Nihon University, education)
Hirowatari Seigo (Senshu University, law, former President of Science Council of Japan)
Horio Teruhisa (University of Tokyo, education)
Ichinokawa Yasutaka (University of Tokyo, sociology)
Ikeuchi Satoru (Nagoya University, astrophysics)
Ishida Hidetaka (University of Tokyo, semiology and media)
Ito Makoto (University of Tokyo, economics)
Kaifu Norio (National Astronomical Observatory, astronomy)
Kaino Michiatsu (Waseda University, law)
Kaneko Masaru (Keio University, fiscal policy)
Katoo Takashi (Seikei University, political philosophy)
Kawamoto Takashi (International Christian University, social logic)
Kimishima Akihiko (Ritsumeikan University, constitutional law and peace studies)
Kobayashi Setsu (Keio University, constitutional law)
Komori Yoichi (University of Tokyo, modern Japanese literature)
Kubo Toru (Shinshu University, history)
Kurihara Akira (Rikkyo University, political sociology)
Mamiya Yosuke (Aoyama Gakuin University, economics)
Masukawa Toshihide (Kyoto University, physics, Nobel laureate)
Mishima Ken’ichi (Osaka University, philosophy & history of thought)
Miyamoto Hisao (University of Tokyo, philosophy)
Miyamoto Ken’ichi (Osaka City University, economics)
Mizuno Kazuo (Nihon University, economics)
Mizushima Asaho (Waseda University, constitutional law)
Nagata Kazuhiro (Kyoto Sangyo University, cellular biology)
Nakatsuka Akira (Nara Women’s University, modern Japanese history)
Nishikawa Jun (Waseda University, international economics)
Nishitani Osamu (Rikkyo University, philosophy & history of thought)
Nishizaki Fumiko (University of Tokyo, history)
Noda Masaaki (psychopathologist)
Oguma Eiji (Keio University, historical sociology)
Okano Yayo (Doshisha University, history of Western political thought)
Osawa Mari (University of Tokyo, social policy)
Saito Jun’ichi (Waseda University, political science)
Sakai Keiko (Chiba University, Iraqi politics)
Sato Manabu (Gakushuin University, education)
Shimazono Susumu (Sophia University, religion)
Sugita Atsushi (Hosei University, political science)
Takahashi Tetsuya (University of Tokyo, philosophy)
Takayama Kanako (Kyoto University, law)
Uchida Tatsuru (Kobe College, philosophy)
Ueno Chizuko (University of Tokyo, sociology)
Ueno Kenji (Kyoto University, mathematics)
Ukai Satoshi (Hitotsubashi University, French literature and thought)
Uno Shigeki (University of Tokyo, history of political thought)
Utsumi Aiko (Keisen University, Japan-Asia relations)
Uyeda Seiya (University of Tokyo, geophysics, Japan Academy member)
Wada Haruki (University of Tokyo, history)
Washitani Izumi (Chuo University, conservation ecology)
Watanabe Osamu (Hitotsubashi University, political science & constitutional law)
Yamaguchi Jiro (Hosei University, political science)
Yamamuro Shin’ichi (Kyoto University, political science)
Yokoyu Sonoko (ex-Chuo University, clinical psychologist)
Yoshida Yutaka (Hitotsubashi University, Japanese history)
Yoshioka Hitoshi (Kyushu University, history of science)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Greenpeace: Okinawa, Henoko Bay, Save the Dugongs 2015

Via Greenpeace:
Time is running out for Henoko Bay and the last surviving Dugongs of Japan. Please help by adding your name: 

H.E Ms Caroline Kennedy U.S. Ambassador to Japan,

Henoko Bay is the home of the last remaining Dugongs in Japanese waters. It is estimated that there are as few as a dozen left in existence.

We understand that the concrete slabs have already started being dumped into the dugongs primary habitat. We urge you to intervene and halt further construction until a sustainable solution is found which guarantees the survival of this last group of IUCN red-listed Dugongs and protects coral reef and Dugong’s seagrass food supply.

We stand with the local Okinawan people who have voted to elect a prefectural government which is opposed to building a U.S Marine base on this environmentally critical site in Japan.

You have stood up for environmental protection before. We know you can do it again.