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.”

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