Save the democracy and coral reef of Okinawa ! "NO" to the new U.S. base at Henoko
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Save the democracy and coral reef of Okinawa!
"NO" to the new U.S. base at Henoko
The Japanese Government is about to landfill one of the most biodiverse waters in the world, due to the construction of the US military base in Henoko, Okinawa Prefecture.
Rare species of coral such as Porites Okinawensis Veron and Stylaraea Punctata have been spotted in and around the area that is to be reclaimed, and the construction work will pose further threat to their survival. The central government promised to transplant 70,000 colonies before the construction, however, transplanted only 9. Additionally, where there were 3 dugongs identified in the nearby area, 1 was found dead at a fishing port in Nakijin-village, the northern part of Okinawa Island, on March 18. The other 2 dugongs have recently been missing. Experts are concerned about the effects of the presence and noise of construction ships on the dugongs.
It has been pointed out that some of the seafloor of the planned construction site facing Oura Bay is as fragile as the consistency of ‘mayonnaise’. A recently conducted study has revealed that this fragile seabed reaches as deep as up to 90 meters. Reinforcement works to strengthen the weak foundation at this depth has never been done in Japan nor anywhere else in the world. It is unclear how much this project would cost, and how many years it would take to complete.
The people of Okinawa continue to demonstrate overwhelming sentiment, condemning the construction of the new U.S. military base at Henoko. In a referendum held on February 24, 2019, 72% of voters - equating to 434,273 people- voted against it. The ’Opposing’ votes made up the vast majority in every municipality. Despite this clear message, the central government ignored these voices and started to landfill the new area on March 25.
Although it only accounts for 0.6% of Japan’s total land area, Okinawa hosts more than 70% of the total U.S. military bases in Japan. We must face the outrageous truth that Okinawa has been forced to shoulder a disproportionate burden for Japan’s security.
In the first place, it is wrong to regard the construction of the new base at Henoko as a relocation of Futenma. The outrage of the Okinawan people erupted in 1995 when three U.S. service members abducted and raped a 12-year-old girl. Japan and the U.S. governments developed a sense of crises to the surging anti-U.S. and anti-base sentiment, so they established the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) to alleviate the burdens of base-hosting communities. SACO laid out policies to realign, consolidate, and reduce U.S. facilities and adjust operational procedures appropriately.
If the Japanese government really means to ‘stand by’ the people of Okinawa as they remark over and over again, they must respect the will of the people, feel their anger and sorrow, and make every effort to urge the U.S. to immediately return the land at Futenma - identified as the most dangerous military base in the world. The return should be unconditional, not an exchange for the Henoko new base as a fait accompli.
Pushing the construction through is nothing other than a clear violation of the human rights of the people of Okinawa, who have continued to show overwhelming opposition to the new Henoko base, including in the February referendum.
We hereby demand the governments of Japan and the U.S. immediately cease construction of the new base at Henoko, and save the democracy and coral reef of Okinawa.
Prime Minister Shinzo ABE
Minister of Defense Takeshi IWAYA
President Donald John TRUMP
Chairman Adam SMITH, House Armed Services Committee U.S. House of Representatives
Chairman James INHOFE, Chairman, House Armed Service Committee U.S. Senate
Friends of the Earth United States
Friends of the Earth Japan
Protect Henoko & Takae! NGO Network
*This petition is a collaboration of the second White House Petition created by Robert Kajiwara. This petition will continue after closing the second White House Petition created by Robert Kajiwara.
Friends of the Earth Japan
1-21-9, Komone, Itabashi, Tokyo, 173-0037
Tel: 03-6909-5983 Fax: 03-6909-5986
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