Full-Page Ad Sends A Message on Okinawa

Posted by Miwa at Apr 28, 2010 02:34 PM |

Many of you know of the efforts of people like Pete Doktor, Norman Kaneshiro, Kyle Kajihiro and so many others in Hawai’i working to protect beautiful Henoko Bay in Okinawa from U.S. military base construction. Henoko Bay is home to the endangered dugong and a place on which local people depend for their traditional practice and livelihood.

Many of you have also probably seen in the papers the gathering of nearly 100,000 protesters in Okinawa this past weekend, calling for a close to Futenma Marine Corps Air Station on their island. You can read more about this struggle and take action–with petition signatures and letters to the U.S. Congress–at http://closethebase.org

In today’s Washington post, folks seeking to protect Okinawa from further base construction have a full page ad, calling on leadership in the U.S. and in Okinawa to end base construction in Okinawa.

From Network for Okinawa and the Japan-U.S. Citizens for Okinawa network:

A full-page ad calling for the closure of the Futenma Marine Corps base and no base relocation within Okinawa prefecture has appeared in The Washington Post on April 28. This ad appears in the wake of the April 25 demonstration of nearly 100,000 Okinawans protesting the planned base relocation.

“Would You Want 30 Military Bases in Your Backyard?” reads the headline of the ad. “The new base would damage the health and safety of people and threaten a unique ecosystem that contains many rare species. This includes the Okinawan dugong, an endangered cousin of the manatee.”

The sponsors of the ad, the Network for Okinawa and the Japan-U.S. Citizens for Okinawa network, want to send a message to the Obama administration that a significant number of Americans support Okinawan concerns about the environmental and social consequences of U.S. military bases on the island. The ad challenges the prevailing consensus in Washington that the Futenma base is essential to U.S. national security.

The full-page ad coincides with a letter sent to President Obama and Prime Minister Hatoyama, signed by more than 500 organizations, that demands the immediate closure of Futenma and the cancellation of plans to relocate it to Henoko Bay. The letter can read at: http://closethebase.org/2010/03/13/center-for-biological-diversity-sign-on-letter/

The full-page ad is the work of concerned U.S. and Japanese citizens who formed the Network for Okinawa (NO) and the Japan-U.S. Citizens for Okinawa Network (JUCON) earlier this year. JUCON  (http://jucon.exblog.jp/) is a coalition of Okinawa and Japan-based NGOs, citizens groups, journalists and prominent individuals. The Network for Okinawa (http://closethebase.org/). the US-based NGOs, draws together representatives from peace groups, environmental organizations, faith-based organizations, academia, and think tanks. It is sponsored by the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington. Members include: American Conservative Defense Alliance, American Friends Service Committee, Center for Biological Diversity, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Greenpeace, Institute for Policy Studies, Just Foreign Policy,Pax Christi USA, the United Methodist Chuch, Veterans for Peace, and Women for Genuine Security.

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