The world supports opposition to Henoko base
There is widening international support for the people of Okinawa who strongly demand that a stop be put to the planned construction of a new base in line with the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko, Nago. 109 internationally renowned intellectuals and other public figures, including film director Oliver Stone and peace scholar Johan Galtung, recently came out with a joint statement declaring their support for the demands of the Okinawan people. The Okinawan people are not alone in their struggle. "The world is watching."
(Statement by 109 international intellectuals on page 8)
The World is Watching: International Scholars, Artists, and Activists Petition to Prevent a New U.S. Military Base in Okinawa
The Okinawan people for twenty consecutive years have made plain their overwhelming opposition to a proposed new U.S. Marine airbase at Henoko, on Oura Bay in the city of Nago. Since our January 2014 statement opposing construction of the planned base, local opposition has grown and intensified. People have rallied by the thousands and repeatedly picketed government offices in Okinawa and on the Japanese mainland. The sit-in tent at the Henoko fishing port is now in its 12th year, and the protest tent at the gate to the planned construction site, which has been a 24/7 action since January 2015, has continued for more than 400 days. Protesters are engaging in non-violent civil disobedience - using sea kayaks on the bay and blocking trucks with their bodies on the land - physically interfering with the construction process. Riot police and members of the Coast Guard have attacked demonstrators, causing serious injuries. Polls in the prefecture record 80% opposition to the base.
For their part, the Japanese and US governments remain adamant in their determination to thwart the will of the Okinawan people.
The island prefecture of Okinawa, comprising 0.6 % of the nation's land area and 1% of its population, already bears 74% of U.S. military bases in all of Japan. This burden represents close to 500 times that of the rest of the country. Okinawans understand this as blatant structural discrimination.
Government officials in Tokyo and Washington argue that removing the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station from Ginowan City and constructing a new base at Henoko will reduce the problem of noise pollution and the danger of plane crashes in crowded areas. But the people of Okinawa, including the people of Ginowan, have made clear that they do not consider moving these problems from one part of Okinawa to another as a "solution." Moreover, construction of this airbase would destroy the beautiful, though fragile, environment of Oura Bay, which is Japan's finest remaining coral sea and home of the dugong, a protected species of marine mammal, and other fish and plant life.
In November 2014, Okinawans overwhelmingly elected Takeshi Onaga, running on a platform to prevent construction of the base, as governor. He defeated incumbent governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who, after years of promising to oppose the new base construction, had suddenly signed the landfill permit. Nakaima caved into pressure from Tokyo, directly violating his campaign promise and betraying his constituents.
Governor Onaga, who has repeatedly stated his intention to do "everything in my power" to stop the base, appointed a Third Party Committee, a team of environmental and legal experts to identify legal flaws, if any, of the landfill permit, with the possibility of nullification of the permit in mind.
In July this Committee issued its report, which concluded that the landfill permit approved by former Governor Nakaima violates Japan's Public Waters Reclamation Law by failing to "sufficiently take into account environmental preservation and disaster prevention" and by failing to meet the criteria for "appropriate and rational use of national land." This accords with common sense: it does not require technical expertise to understand that the claim that you can dump three and a half million truckloads of dirt into a coral garden without causing serious environmental damage is patently absurd. Governor Onaga now has the evidence required to nullify the approval of the landfill permit that allowed Tokyo to proceed with base construction.
The Japanese government has responded by announcing a one-month suspension of construction work, and entered negotiations with the prefecture. However, in another slap in the face to the Okinawan people and their representatives, it insists that it will resume work on the base afterwards, regardless of the outcome of the "negotiations."
Governor Onaga holds the key to preventing this with his authority, backed by the Third-Party Committee report, to nullify the landfill permit approved by former Governor Nakaima. It is likely the Japanese government's fear of such an action that motivated its suspension of work and entrance into negotiations in hopes of pressuring Governor Onaga to end his opposition by promising huge economic development projects. But such attempts at bribery are an insult to the Okinawan people.
The Third Party Investigation has shown that the landfill permit issued by Governor Nakaima is legally flawed - in a word, illegal. This means that the governor is legally bound to nullify it. Such nullification was expected to come right after the Third Party Committee concluded, but to many Okinawans' surprise, Governor Onaga instead announced a one-month delay of any decision based on the Committee Report.
For Governor Onaga to fail to nullify the permit would make him complicit in an illegal project. Of course, the governor knows this, and he also knows that failure to act decisively would also probably trigger an explosion in Okinawan society.
The Okinawan people have made it absolutely clear that they want and expect the governor to nullify the landfill agreement unconditionally with no compromises and no deals.
We support them in this desire.
The world is watching.
Matthew Allen, professor (adjunct), Cairns Institute, James Cook University, Australia
Kozy Amemiya, Independent scholar specializing on Okinawan emigration
Andrea Arai, cultural anthropologist and lecturer in Japan and East Asian Studies, University of Washington
Frank Bardacke, Labor Historian
Herbert Bix, Emeritus Professor of History and Sociology, State University of New York at Binghamton
Adam Broinowski, Japanese historical and cultural studies, Australian National University
Daniel Broudy, Professor & Chair, Graduate School of Intercultural Communication, Okinawa Christian University
Alexander Brown, PhD Student, School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, University of Wollongong
Michael K. Bourdaghs, Professor, University of Chicago
Akiko Utu Cacaji, Veterans For Peace, Washington DC Chapter
Jenny Chan, China Studies & Sociology, School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, University of Oxford
John Chappell, Professor of History, Webster University
Choi Sung-Hee, coordinator, Gangjeong village international team, Jeju Island, Korea
Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
C. Anne Claus, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, American University
Sam Coleman, Veterans for Peace, California State University, Long Beach
Millie Creighton, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia
Bruce Cumings, Swift Distinguished Professor, History Department, University of Chicago
Kelly Dietz, Assistant Professor, Department of Politics, Ithaca College
Mark Driscoll, Associate Professor of East Asian Studies at the Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Alexis Dudden, Professor of History, University of Connecticut
Mark Ealey, Translator
Daniel Ellsberg, Former State and Defense Department official
Cynthia Enloe, Research Professor, Clark University
Thomas Fazi, Writer and filmmaker (Italy), co-director ofStanding Army
John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus
Norma Field, Professor Emerita, University of Chicago
Max Paul Friedman, Professor of History, American University
James Fujii, Associate Professor, University of California, Irvine
Takashi Fujitani, Professor of History, University of Toronto
Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Johan Galtung, dr hc mult Professor of Peace studies, Founder Transcend
Joseph Gerson (PhD), Working Group for Asia-Pacific Peace & Demilitarization
Subrata Ghoshroy, Research Affiliate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Andrew Gordon, Professor of History, Harvard University
Mel Gurtov, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Portland State University
Morton H Halperin, Former U.S. Government official ( Departments of Defense and State and National Security Council)
Laura Hein, Professor, Northwestern University, Chicago
Edward Heinrich-Sanchez, Coordinator, Veterans for Peace, Ryukyu-Okinawa Chapter
Julie Higashi, Professor, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto
Katsuya Hirano, Associate Professor of History, UCLA
Christine Hong, Assistant Professor, UC Santa Cruz
Glenn D. Hook, Professor, University of Sheffield
Asato Ikeda, Assistant Professor, Fordham University
Masamichi (Marro) Inoue, Associate Professor, Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures & Cultures / Japan Studies Program, University of Kentucky
Vincent J. Intondi, Associate Professor of History, Montgomery College
Rebecca Jennison, Dept. of Humanities, Kyoto Seika University
Paul Jobin, Associate Professor, Paris Diderot University
David T. Johnson, Professor of Sociology, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Sheila K. Johnson (Mrs. Chalmers Johnson), writer
William Johnston, Professor of History, Wesleyan University
Erin Jones, Researcher
John Junkerman, Filmmaker, Visiting Scholar at Waseda University
Kyle Kajihiro, a Board Member, Hawaii Peace and Justice
Peter King, emeritus professor, University of Sydney
Jeff Kingston, Professor of History, Temple University, Japan
Joy Kogawa, author of Obasan
Pekka Korhonen, Professor of World Politics, University of Jyvaskyla
J. Victor Koschmann, Professor, Cornell University
Jeremy Kuzmarov, J.P. Walker assistant professor of history, University of Tulsa
Peter Kuznick, Professor of History, American University
Thomas Lamarre, Department of East Asian Studies, McGill University
Jon Letman, independent journalist, Lihue, Hawaii
Douglas Lummis, Visiting Professor, Okinawa Christian University Graduate School,
Catherine Lutz, Professor, Brown University
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace laureate
Janice Matsumura, Associate professor, Simon Fraser University
Gavan McCormack, Professor Emeritus, Australian National University
Jo (Yosi) McIntire, Peace Activist, Scholar of International Relations
Richard H. Minear, professor of history (emeritus), University of Massachusetts Amherst
Jon Mitchell, Journalist
Michael Molasky, Professor of Asian Cultural Studies, Waseda University
R. Taggart Murphy, Professor, International Political Economy, University of Tsukuba, Tokyo Campus
Katherine Muzik, Marine Biologist, Kaua'i, Hawaii
Christopher Nelson, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Satoko Oka Norimatsu, Editor, The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
Elin O'Hara Slavick, Professor, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Peter B. Olney, Retired Organizing Director ILWU
Stephanie Ortoleva, Esq., President, Women Enabled International, International Human Rights & Women's Rights lawyer
Eiko Otake, Artist in residence, Wesleyan University
Koohan Paik, International Forum on Globalization, San Francisco
Enrico Parenti, Filmmaker (Italy), co-director ofStanding Army
Charles Pellegrino, Deep Ocean Explorer/Astrobiologist/Forensic Archaeologist
John Price, Professor of History, University of Victoria
Steve Rabson, Professor Emeritus, Brown University
Betty A. Reardon, Founding Director Emeritus, International Institute on Peace Education
Simon Robinson, Okinawa Christian University, Okinawa Sudbury School
David Rothauser, Filmmaker, "Hibakusha, Our Life to Live," "Article 9 Comes to America
Jordan Sand, Professor of Japanese History, Georgetown University
Peter Dale Scott, Prof. Emeritus of English, University of California, Berkeley
Mark Selden, Senior Research Associate, East Asia Program at Cornell University
Franziska Seraphim, Associate Professor of Japanese History, Boston College
David H. Slater, Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Sophia University
Jeffrey St. Clair, journalist & editor, CounterPunch magazine
Oliver Stone, Filmmaker
Roy Tamashiro, Professor of Multidisciplinary Studies, Webster University
Miyume Tanji(Dr.), Australian National University
Vladimir Tikhonov, Professor at Oslo University
John Whittier Treat, Professor Emeritus, Yale University
Brian Victoria, Visiting Research Fellow,International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken)
David Vine, Associate Professor of Anthropology, American University
Vanessa B. Ward (Dr.), Lecturer in East Asian History, Department of History & Art History, University of Otago
David Webb, Emeritus Professor, Leeds Beckett University; Convenor, Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space; Chair, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Piers R. Williamson, Specially Appointed Associate Professor, Research Faculty of Media and Communication, Hokkaido University
James Winter, Professor of Communication, Media & Film, University of Windsor, Ontario Canada
Lawrence Wittner, Professor of History Emeritus, State University of New York/Albany
Karel van Wolferen, Emeritus professor, University of Amsterdam, author
Dustin Wright, lecturer of history, University of California, Santa Cruz.
Kenneth H Young CD, Service Officer, Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #256 Nanaimo BC