The people of Okinawa are calling on the international community for help to stop the desecration of a sacred ocean site, Oura Bay in Henoko, for a new US Marines base. Oura Bay is the home of the dugong (the Okinawan manatee) and other endangered species, including extensive coral reefs.
The latest poll shows that 80.2% of Okinawans oppose this construction on environmental, ethical, and economic grounds. They are blockading the construction site from land and sea, and holding prefecture-wide rallies comprising all segments of the population. Reflecting this opposition, Okinawan voters elected Takeshi Onaga as their governor who is determined to work toward stopping the construction of the new base. Read more…
They come in kayaks and canoes to protect the bay, maintain a tent city on the beach, and hold candlelight vigils. From posters to marches, songs, and a petition expressing international solidarity, Okinawan residents have left no question about their fierce opposition to construction of a new military base for the U.S. Marines on their island.
Overriding these emphatic voices, the Japanese and United States governments have begun work on a new facility at the Nago City site of Henoko—initiating offshore drilling, tearing down buildings, and bringing in construction supplies. Read more…
On the eve of Obama’s visit to Japan on April 23-25, the Japanese media are reporting that President Obama and Prime Minister Abe plan to issue a joint statement reaffirming the alliance between the two nations.The United States views Japan, which hosts the largest U.S. forces (about 50,000) in Asia, as a key ally in the “Pivot” to Asia (or “rebalance” in U.S. government parlance), and the Abe administration desperately seeks U.S. support in its conflict with China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands while it has taken significant steps to change Japan’s peace constitution so that its “self-defense forces” can engage in combat alongside the U.S. military. “Read more”
Photo: Okinawa Times, April 19, 2014 <http://www.okinawatimes.co.jp/photo_detail/?id=67194&pid=103444>
by Gwyn Kirk
Originally Posted on the Oregon WAND
August 22, 2013
I believe that no woman should be a victim of rape or sexual assault. So it’s been heartening, this summer, to see women speaking out about the epidemic of military sexual violence and demanding change. Their testimonies and official complaints, lawsuits against Pentagon top brass, media reports, Congressional hearings, and an award-winning documentary, The Invisible War, have all forced this issue into the spotlight.
A part analysis and reflection piece written by two women of Okinawan heritage about the recent statement made by Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka, regarding his public statement on the issue of “comfort women” and the current situation on US military sexual assaults in Okinawa.
On May 13, 2013, the mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, made a deplorable comment about the necessity of a prostitution system in Okinawa and asked US military officials to enact such a policy in order to “take control of the libidinous energy of the US Marines stationed in Okinawa.” There is a colonial impulse and imperial undercurrent running through his statement. Okinawa has been shouldering the burden of the legacy of WWII by hosting approximately 75% of US bases in Japan today, which is a precarious situation after being occupied by the US military from 1946 ~ 1972, and reinstituting its governance as part of Japan in 1972. The current focus by the media on the rise of military-related sexual assault is not new. On the contrary, the problem has been going on in Okinawa since 1945 as reported by the Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, which was established in 1995 after the highly publicized rape case of a 12-year-old girl by three service men in Okinawa. Furthermore, the Osprey deployment to Okinawa, not mainland Japan, continues to position Okinawa as the “dumping ground” for Japan’s unwanted problems. By ignoring the colonial and the imperial markings in the present, the mayor continues to recreate a hierarchy that maintains Japan’s hegemony over Okinawa. Read more…
October 23, 2012
Contact Person: Atty. Virginia Suarez-Pinlac #639209190267
KAISA KA Stands with Okinawan Women in Denouncing Rape by US Military Personnel
KAISA KA, a transformational, multi-sector women’s organization in the Philippines is enraged by another rape committed by two US servicemen against a Japanese woman in Okinawa, October 16 this year. It is sending the victim its sincere sympathies. Its members stand in solidarity with all the Okinawan and Japanese women who have been opposing US militarism and abuse. Read more…
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
October 17, 2012
Protest Statement against Sexual Assault by US Sailors and
Demand for Withdrawal of US Military from Okinawa
We, people of Okinawa, particularly women, have suffered as a result of the long-term stationing of US military and their bases in Okinawa. We are deeply shocked and outraged at the alleged gang-rape and injury committed by US sailors on October 16th. It has been reported that the victim was attacked as she was walking home alone from work and that she had a mark of possible strangulation on her neck. We strongly deplore such a crime that targeted a woman, violating her freedom and safety. We remember another recent sexual assault case by a US soldier in Naha in August this year, and hundreds of others over many years. Read more…