“Don’t build a new US military base at Henoko, Okinawa on war victim’s remains”

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Joint statement of interfaith religious believers.

“We cannot allow the earth and sand containing the remains of war victims to be used for the land reclamation to construct a new U.S. military base at Henoko, Okinawa, Japan”


“It is profane to use the earth and sand containing the remains of war victims to construct a new military base at Henoko.” “It should be prohibited to use the remains of war dead contained in the soil and sand for the landfill on which to build a military base.”

These are the words of Takamatsu Gushiken, head of “Gamafuyaa (Cave Diggers),” the volunteer group committed to excavating the remains of the war dead during the Battle of Okinawa. He has been dedicated to this work for 38 years. His anger and appeal must be heard.  

The bones of the victims of the fierce battle have not come close to being completely collected. The Japanese government plans to use earth and sand containing their remains for a land reclamation project to support the construction of a new US military base in Henoko-Oura Bay.

In April of 2020, the Defense Ministry of Japan submitted to the prefecture of Okinawa a design change for the project to build a new U.S. military basebased on the Public Water Body Reclamation Act. Under this new plan, the southern part of Okinawa’s main island, which was not included in the original plan, has been added as a collection site for the earth and sand to be used for the land reclamation project. In the southern area of Okinawa island, many bones of the war dead still remain.

The remains represent the dignity of the dead. Disrespecting these remains is a violation of their dignity. We, as religious believers who appreciate life, cannot allow this to happen. We cannot tolerate that the remains of the war dead would be used for the construction of a military base.


With the sincere respect for the war victims, the prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, should immediately stop the plan to collect soil and sand from the southern area of Okinawa’s main island.  


The first thing that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga should do is prioritize thecollection of remains and return them to the families of the dead without further delay.


The dead cannot speak, but their spirits cry. They are asking us to save their remains.


To use the earth and sand containing the remains of the war dead for the construction of the military base for wars means to kill the war dead once again.


We, the believers of several religions, strongly demand that the Prime Minister Suga withdraw the plan to use the earth and sand from the site of the fierce battle fields during the Battle of Okinawa for the construction of a new military base at Henoko and to apologize the family members of the battle’sdead.



Proponent (6 organizations)

• Henoko ni Shin-kichi o Tsukurasenai Shimagurumi Shuukyoosha no Kai (The group of island-wide religious believers who say no to the construction of a new base at Henoko)

• Nihon Shuukyoosha Heiwa Kyoogikai(Japan Religious Peace Council)

• Kichi no Nai Okinawa o Mezasu Syuukyoosha no Tsudoi (A Gathering of Religious People Aiming for Okinawa without Military Bases)

• Nihon Katorikku Seigi to Heiwa Kyoogikai (Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace)

• Heiwa o Jitsugensuru Kirisutosha Nettowaaku (     Christian Net Work for Peace Sticking to the Peace Constitution)

• Heiwa o Tsukuridasu Shuukyosha Netto (Religious Network for Creating Peace)


Note. The remains of the American soldiers perished during the Battle of Okinawa could be contained in the earth and sand, which will be collected under this new plan.

Endorsed by:

Veterans for Peace – NYC Chapter 34

New York City Catholic Worker

Kairos Community

Stand with Okinawa NY


Peace Action New York State

World BEYOND War

United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)


Reference: Link to NHK report on Mr. Gushiken Takamatsu-san