Cancel the plan to build a new U.S. military base in Henoko, Okinawa, and return Futenma to the people of Okinawa immediately
Here is a statement originally issued on January 7, 2014, signed by 29 international scholars, peace advocates and artists. Below the statement are the list of the 103 signatories as of January 28, 2014, and the press release issued on that day with the contact information of the three organizers of the petition. The signatories include filmmakers Oliver Stone and Michael Moore, linguist Noam Chomsky, and Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Maguire. Please join them by signing this petition and help bring justice to Okinawa
PHOTO:Filmmaker Oliver Stone visits elders at Henoko sit-in tent, August 2013
(Photo by Ryukyu Shimpo 琉球新報社提供)
We oppose construction of a new US military base within Okinawa, and support the people of Okinawa in their struggle for peace, dignity, human rights and protection of the environment
We the undersigned oppose the deal made at the end of 2013 between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Governor of Okinawa Hirokazu Nakaima to deepen and extend the military colonization of Okinawa at the expense of the people and the environment. Using the lure of economic development, Mr. Abe has extracted approval from Governor Nakaima to reclaim the water off Henoko, on the northeastern shore of Okinawa, to build a massive new U.S. Marine air base with a military port.
Plans to build the base at Henoko have been on the drawing board since the 1960s. They were revitalized in 1996, when the sentiments against US military bases peaked following the rape of a twelve year-old Okinawan child by three U.S. servicemen. In order to pacify such sentiments, the US and Japanese governments planned to close Futenma Marine Air Base in the middle of Ginowan City and move its functions to a new base to be constructed at Henoko, a site of extraordinary bio-diversity and home to the endangered marine mammal dugong.
Governor Nakaima’s reclamation approval does not reflect the popular will of the people of Okinawa. Immediately before the gubernatorial election of 2010, Mr. Nakaima, who had previously accepted the new base construction plan, changed his position and called for relocation of the Futenma base outside the prefecture. He won the election by defeating a candidate who had consistently opposed the new base. Polls in recent years have shown that 70 to 90 percent of the people of Okinawa opposed the Henoko base plan. The poll conducted immediately after Nakaima’s recent reclamation approval showed that 72.4 percent of the people of Okinawa saw the governor’s decision as a “breach of his election pledge.” The reclamation approval was a betrayal of the people of Okinawa.
73.8 percent of the US military bases (those for exclusive US use) in Japan are concentrated in Okinawa, which is only .6 percent of the total land mass of Japan. 18.3 percent of the Okinawa Island is occupied by the US military. Futenma Air Base originally was built during the 1945 Battle of Okinawa by US forces in order to prepare for battles on the mainland of Japan. They simply usurped the land from local residents. The base should have been returned to its owners after the war, but the US military has retained it even though now almost seven decades have passed. Therefore, any conditional return of the base is fundamentally unjustifiable.
The new agreement would also perpetuate the long suffering of the people of Okinawa. Invaded in the beginning of the 17th century by Japan and annexed forcefully into the Japanese nation at the end of 19th century, Okinawa was in 1944 transformed into a fortress to resist advancing US forces and thus to buy time to protect the Emperor System. The Battle of Okinawa killed more than 100,000 local residents, about a quarter of the island’s population. After the war, more bases were built under the US military occupation. Okinawa “reverted” to Japan in 1972, but the Okinawans’ hope for the removal of the military bases was shattered. Today, people of Okinawa continue to suffer from crimes and accidents, high decibel aircraft noise and environmental pollution caused by the bases. Throughout these decades, they have suffered what the U.S. Declaration of Independence denounces as “abuses and usurpations,” including the presence of foreign “standing armies without the consent of our legislatures.”
Not unlike the 20th century U.S. Civil Rights struggle, Okinawans have non-violently pressed for the end to their military colonization. They tried to stop live-fire military drills that threatened their lives by entering the exercise zone in protest; they formed human chains around military bases to express their opposition; and about a hundred thousand people, one tenth of the population have turned out periodically for massive demonstrations. Octogenarians initiated the campaign to prevent the construction of the Henoko base with a sit-in that has been continuing for years. The prefectural assembly passed resolutions to oppose the Henoko base plan. In January 2013, leaders of all the 41 municipalities of Okinawa signed the petition to the government to remove the newly deployed MV-22 Osprey from Futenma base and to give up the plan to build a replacement base in Okinawa.
We support the people of Okinawa in their non-violent struggle for peace, dignity, human rights and protection of the environment. The Henoko marine base project must be canceled and Futenma returned forthwith to the people of Okinawa.
Matthew Allen, Researcher, James Cook University
Gar Alperovitz, Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy, University of Maryland
Kozy (Kazuko) Amemiya, Independent scholar specializing on Okinawan emigration
Colin Archer, General Secretary, International Peace Bureau
Norman Birnbaum, Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University
Herbert Bix, Emeritus Professor of History and Sociology, State University of New York at Binghamton
Daniel Botsman, Professor of Japanese history, Yale University
Jan Boudart, Nuclear Energy Information Service Chicago
Reiner Braun, Co-president International Peace Bureau and Executive Director of International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms
Jane Cadarette, Pax Christi USA
Helen Caldicott, Foundation for a Nuclear Free Future, Founding President, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Tony Castanha, Lecturer in Indigenous Studies, University of Hawaii
Sung-Hee Choi, Gangjeong Village Opposition to Jeju Naval Base
Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Vivian Dames, Associate Professor of Social Work, University of Guam (Retired)
Winnie Detwiler, Sacramento Area Peace Action
Kelly Diez, Assistant Professor, Department of Politics, Ithaca College
John W. Dower, Professor Emeritus of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jean Downey, Attorney and author
Alexis Dudden, Professor of History, University of Connecticut
Joan Ecklein, College of Public and Community Service, University of Massachusetts (retired)
Daniel Ellsberg, Senior Fellow at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, former Defense and State Department official
Cynthia Enloe, Research Professor, Clark University
Richard Falk, Milbank Professor of International law Emeritus, Princeton University
Pat Farell, Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque, Iowa
Thomas Fazi, Writer and filmmaker (Italy), co-director of Standing Army
John Feffer, Co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus (www.fpif.org) at the Institute for Policy Studies
Gordon Fellman, Professor of Sociology, Brandeis University
Norma Field, Professor Emerita, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago
Carolyn Forche, Professor of English and Director of the Lannan Center for Poetry and Poetics, Georgetown University
Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Johan Galtung, Sociologist, Founder, TRANSCEND: A Peace Development Environment Network
Irene Gendzier, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Boston University
Joseph Gerson (PhD), Director, Peace & Economic Security Program, American Friends Service Committee
Gary R. Goldstein, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Tufts University
Laura Hein, Professor of Japanese History, Northwestern University Chicago
John Hocevar, Oceans Campaign Director, Greenpeace
Glenn D. Hook, Professor, School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield
Kate Hudson(PhD), General Secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Mickey Huff, Professor of History, Diablo Valley College; Director, Project Censured
Vincent J. Intondi, Associate Professor of History, Montgomery College
Jean E. Jackson, Professor of Anthropology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Paul Jobin, Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Paris Diderot
Sheila Johnson, Japan Policy Research Institute, Cardiff California; widow of Chalmers Johnson
Peter J. Jones, Lecturer in Asian Studies at the University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
Paul Joseph, Professor of Sociology, Tufts University
John Junkerman, Filmmaker, director of Japan’s Peace Constitution
Louis Kampf, Professor of Humanities Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Bruce Kent, Past President International Peace Bureau and past Chair of CND UK
Assaf Kfoury, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, Boston University
Peter King, Emeritus professor and convener of Human Survival Project at University of Sydney
Naomi Klein, Author and journalist
Joy Kogawa, Author of Obasan
Peter Kuznick, Professor of History, American University
John Lamperti, Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus, Dartmouth College
Steve Leeper, Professor, Hiroshima Jogakuin University
Diane Levin, Professor of Education. Wheelock College
Peter Limb, Professor of History, Michigan State University
Douglas Lummis, Lecturer at Okinawa International University
Catherine Lutz, Professor of Anthropology and International Studies, Brown University
Kyo Maclear, Writer and children’s author
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace laureate
Kevin Martin, Executive Director, Peace Action
Robert and Julia K. Matsui Estrella, Videographer/photographer
Keiko Matsui Higa, Author
Gavan McCormack, Professor Emeritus, Australian National University
Zia Mian, Princeton University
Michael Moore, Filmmaker
LisaLinda Natividad, Associate Professor of Social Work, University of Guam
Agneta Norberg, Swedish Peace Council
Eiichiro Ochiai, Professor Emeritus, Juniata College
Satoko Oka Norimatsu, Director, Peace Philosophy Centre
Koohan Paik, International forum on globalization, San Francisco
Enrico Parenti, Filmmaker (Italy), co-director of Standing Army
Lindis Percy, Coordinator, Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (UK)
Sophie Quinn-Judge, Associate Professor of History, Temple University
Steve Rabson, Professor Emeritus, Brown University/ Veteran, United States Army, Henoko, Okinawa, 1967-68
J. Narayama Rao, Secretary, Centre for Cultural, Educational, Economics (India)
Betty Reardon, Professor of Education and Founding Director Emeritus, International Institute of Peace Education
David Reynolds, Former Chair, War Resisters International, Socialist Party candidate for President, 1980, 2000
David Rothhauser, Korean vet, WILPF Article 9 Campaign, director of Hibakusha – Our Life to Live
Aurelie Royon, Mouvement de la Paix
Mark Selden, a Senior Research Associate in the East Asia Program at Cornell University
Martin Sherwin, Professor, George Mason University, recipient of Pulitzer Prize
Alice Slater, Abolition 2000, Coordinating Committee
Mark Solomon, Professor Emeritus of History, Simmons College
John Steinbach, Hiroshima Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capital Area
Oliver Stone, Filmmaker
David Suzuki, Biologist, science broadcaster, author and environmental activist
Koji Taira, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Roy Tamashiro, Professor, Webster University
Michael True, Professor Emeritus, Assumption College
Jo Vallentine, Former Greens Senator in the Australian Federal Parliament
Karel van Wolferen, Emeritus professor, University of Amsterdam, author
David Vine, Associate Professor of Anthropology, American University
Vanessa Warheit, Filmmaker, director of "Insular Empire: America in the Marianas"
Dave Webb, Emeritus Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, Leeds Met University, UK, Chair, CND
The Very Rev. the Hon. Lois Wilson, Former President, World Council of Churches
Lucas Wirl, Program Director, International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility, Germany
Lawrence Wittner, Professor Emeritus of History, State University of New York/Albany
Ann Wright, Retired US Army Colonel and former US diplomat
Angie Zelter, Trident Ploughshares, UK
(In the alphabetical order of family names, as of January 28, 2014)
Over One Hundred International Scholars, Peace Advocates and Artists Support Local Residents’ Decision to Refuse New Military Base Construction in Okinawa
January 28, 2014
Our statement (http://p.tl/vZzS ) of January 7, signed by 29 prominent scholars and artists, received wide international media attention, especially from outlets across Japan. It helped to empower and invigorate the people of Okinawa, who were appalled by Governor Nakaima’s year-end capitulation to forces who want to build a large new U.S. Marine base on the island. One Okinawan resident emailed us, “You don't know how much this statement has meant to me and many fellow Okinawans who are in this struggle. I wish you were here to see this.”
Initial signatories included linguist Noam Chomsky, academy award winning film makers Oliver Stone and Michael Moore, Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire, historian John Dower, former U.S. military officer and diplomat Ann Wright, and United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine Richard Falk.
We now have over one hundred signatories, including the pioneer of peace studies Johan Galtung, physician and anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott, biologist and science broadcaster David Suzuki, peace educator Betty Reardon, political scientist Karel van Wolferen, and Pulitzer-prize winning historian Martin Sherwin. Other signers are leading authors, scholars, and filmmakers, representatives of various peace organizations, and citizens who have been committed to ending military colonization of Okinawa.
January 19 marked a triumphant moment for Okinawa when residents of Nago City re-elected Mayor Susumu Inamine, who has consistently opposed the base construction “on land or on sea.” According to a pre-election poll, only 9 percent of Nago residents supported the new base plan. The rejection of the new base by a majority of the residents represented a vote of no-confidence in Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who supported the pro-base candidate, and in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who pressured Nakaima to go along with the U.S. relocation plan. And as the New York Times rightly said, Mayor Inamine’s win dealt “an embarrassing blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,” who attempted to buy votes with talk of more subsidies and public works projects.
In the electoral history of Okinawa, no candidate has ever won by actively supporting a new base. The last Nago election was no exception. Citizens of Okinawa have filed a lawsuit to nullify Governor Nakaima’s approval of the massive land reclamation needed to build the base. They are seeking a way to recall the governor. The prefectural assembly passed a resolution to demand Nakaima’s resignation. The Abe and Obama governments, however, appear to be preparing to crush all resistance in Okinawa. Only two days after Mayor Inamine’s re-election, the Japanese government started soliciting bids for preliminary work on the base construction.
Okinawans will continue to protest, as they have in the past, in the ways of demonstrations, petitions, elections, lawsuits, sit-ins, academic and artistic activities, and direct actions to stop construction. On occasion they have paddled canoes and tied themselves to scaffolding towers to successfully obstruct a government survey of the ocean. We support them in their ongoing struggle for peace, dignity, human rights, and protection of the environment. We are now launching a petition drive calling for international opposition to new base construction in Okinawa and immediate return of Futenma and challenging Abe and Obama’s contempt for the democratic and human rights of the people of Okinawa. The URL for the on-line petition is http://chn.ge/1ecQPUJ.
For More Information Contact:
Joseph Gerson: 1-617-661-6130/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Kuznick: email@example.com
Gavan McCormack: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Almost two decades ago, under strong pressure from local citizens who were tired of noise, accidents, and crime, including the rape of a 12 year old girl by three U.S. soldiers, the U.S. and Japanese governments pledged to close the United States’ Futenma Marine air base in Okinawa, but insisted on building a replacement base at Henoko in the northern Okinawan city of Nago.
Okinawans have said no to base relocation, repeatedly expressing their opposition through elections, demonstrations, and civil disobedience. But the pressure from Washington and Tokyo has been fierce and unrelenting. Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who had won the election by calling for relocating the base outside of Okinawa, recently caved into that pressure and, in an utter betrayal, approved reclamation of the water off Henoko in order to construct the new base.
72.4 percent of Okinawans view this as a “breach of his election pledge.” In an act of defiance, widely interpreted as a plebiscite on base construction, voters in Nago re-elected mayor Susumu Inamine, an outspoken base opponent, over the Tokyo- and U.S.-backed pro-base candidate. Overall, 73.5 percent of Okinawans oppose relocation within Okinawa. Now, with U.S. backing, the Japanese government, in an act contemptuous of democracy and of environmental protection, says it will ignore the expressed will of the Okinawan people and proceed with the Henoko base construction.
In January 2014, over one hundred international scholars, peace advocates, and artists signed on to the statement to demand cancellation of the plan to build the Henoko base and to insist upon the immediate return of Futenma to the Okinawan people. We support the people of Okinawa in their non-violent struggle for peace, dignity, human rights, and protection of the environment. We join the initial signers in asking you to put democracy before militarism and to move towards ending military colonization of Okinawa by removing the Futenma base without building another base within Okinawa.
International Petition for Okinawa started this petition with a single signature, and now has 13,549 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.