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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"Okinawa's Future: Democracy or Military Dictatorship?" Last Day of WaPo Okinawa ad on the Online Opinion Page

Okinawa's Future: Democracy or Military Dictatorship?

Today is the last day of the 3-day Okinawa ad at the online Washington Post's Opinion Page.  The ad was taken out by The Okinawa Protest Advertising Action, an Okinawan group that, like all of Okinawa's civil society and government, opposes the Jp-US governments' plan to forcibly landfill and construction of a US military training base at Okinawa's most important natural cultural heritage site—against the will of the Okinawan prefectural government and citizens. As Okinawan Governor Takeshi Onaga has explained clearly in the past month, the Okinawan government and people have never consented to any U.S. military bases on their lands.


Every village, town, and city in Okinawa is united in opposing the planned construction of a new U.S. military airbase. If the plan goes ahead, the coral reef and sea-grass ecosystems at Oura Bay, Henoko, will be sealed under 740 million cubic feet of landfill to make way for U.S. military runways. This act of environmental vandalism will destroy the habitat of countless endangered species, including one of the world’s most threatened marine mammals, the Okinawan dugong, a species which on paper, though not in reality, is protected by U.S. and Japanese law...

After 2 decades of resisting the Henoko plan, and what in any genuine democracy would be regarded as decisive elections held in 2014, the people of Okinawa made their views clear to Washington and Tokyo...

On April 29, PM Abe, in an address to a joint meeting of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, is expected to tell President Obama and the American people that base construction in Okinawa is going according to plan, and even that the project will strengthen U.S. -Jp bilateral relations.

Pragmatists as well as idealists within the U.S. admin would do well to question this version of events. Some 60 years ago, during another period of unrest in Okinawa known as the Island Wide Struggle, U.S. troops forcibly removed Okinawans from their land using bulldozers and bayonets. At the time, senior U.S. diplomats warned of Okinawa becoming ungovernable, and  the most heavy-handed tactics of the period were abandoned in favor of negotiation.

Attempting to impose a new base on Okinawa by force, which appears to be the only option currently being considered by U.S. & Jp officials, threatens to repeat the mistakes of that period, at the same time undermining Washington and Tokyo’s credibility as agents of democracy, freedom and human rights.
See the entire ad here: http://www.okinawaiken.org/washingtonpost2015/.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

反省: When "remorse" is not remorse. Translation games during PM Abe visit to the US.

反省

When "remorse" is not remorse.

One key to deciphering PM Abe's expected verbal gymnastics while in the US may be his use of the word 反省 (hansei), officially translated as "remorse" in English, but which does not suggest apologetic feelings or admission of wrong-doing in Japanese.  An alternative translation would be "thoughtful reflection."

Using this word, as scholar Tessa Morris-Suzuki has pointed out in "Japanese war apologies lost in translation," published at East Asia Forum, allows Abe to deliver two different messages. In the West, people receive the misleading impression that he is being penitent and admitting Japanese wartime aggression, whereas in Japan and elsewhere in East Asia, people understand such a response as vague evasion of responsibility.

Monday, April 27, 2015

New Face of Empire v. the Anti-War Committee of 1000: No base in Henoko, Okinawa! NO WAR 4.26 Shibuya Sound Parade & 4.27 "Protect the Peace Constitution" Action

(Photo: Anti-War Committee of 1000)
The Anti-War Committee of 1000 (co-founded last year by Nobel Prize Laureate Kenzaburo Oe, former Okinawa Gov. Masahide Ota,and other Japanese and Okinawan social and cultural leaders) brought the ubiquitous pink Okinawa Dugong balloon to Tokyo's Shibuya district on Sunday for the No base in Henoko, Okinawa! NO WAR 4.26 Shibuya sound parade. About 1000 people attended the "NO WAR in Shibuya! Solidarity in the struggle for Okinawa" rally, which overlapped with the Rainbow Pride parade.

(Photo: Anti-War Committee of 1000)

This is one of the many ongoing  protests in mainland Japan and Okinawa, opposing the Abe administration goal of reviving the Japanese wartime military order under US hegemony. Many onlookers see in the domestic struggle as a replay of the prewar Japanese political contest between pacifists and militarists.  And as a replay of the massive protests against the 1960 US-Japan Security Treaty (ANPO) forced through the Japanese Diet by PM Abe's grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi. The main point of opposition was that it would allow U.S. military bases to remain on Japanese and Okinawan soil.

Hundreds of thousands protested passing of the
 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the US andJapan (ANPO) 
that PM Nobusuke Kishi, grandfather of PM Abe, forced through 
the Japanese Diet on May 20, 1960, at the sacrifice of his political career. 

On Monday, the Anti-War Committee of 1000 held another rally at the PM's residence to protest the Abe administration's revision of US-Japan military guidelines which call for the increased integration of the US and Japanese militaries. Approximately 800 people participated in the 4.27 action.

The US has pushed for military integration with Asian countries since the first years of the Cold War.  President Eisenhower articulated the key concept in the early 1950s: "If there must be a war there in Asia, let it be Asians against Asians."  The Nixon Doctrine announced in Guam in 1969 consolidated the US government idea of international military integration under US domination. Historian John Dower's description of the Nixon Doctrine (in "Asia and the Nixon Doctrine: The New Face of Empire," a chapter in Open Secret: The Kissinger-Nixon Doctrine in Asia, published in 1970), also describes the motivation behind the ongoing integration:
...fundamentally a cost-conscious policy, aimed at maintaining a major U.S. role in Asia at less cost in both dollars and American lives. This combination has been given the policy a racist cast perhaps best illustrated by Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker's comment that [this] means changing 'the color of the corpses...

While the primary thrust of the Doctrine is military and budgetary, this thrust interlocks with important considerations concerning the future economic development of Asia...

(Photo: Anti-War Committee of 1000)

Dower added that the US military and economic globalization strategy may be traced back to the Truman era:
...represents ittle more than the new face of American empire. It applies cosmetics to the scarred strategies of the past; here and there, where the old features of imperium have become particularly battered, there is even a bit of strategic plastic surgery. At this stage in history, after..decades of often tragic American policy in Asia, one looks for new questions, sensibilities, and committments which strike to the root of affairs...Upon close examination, it is fundamentally not even a new policy, but rather a pastiche of rhetoric and programs familiar since the early years of the cold war

(I)...containment remains the framework of miiltary strategy...and the U.S has reaffirmed its commitment to counterrevolution.

(II)The network of American bases and manpower commitments abroad is being rationalized and restructured, not reconsidered.

(III) Client armies are being developed to replace American combat troops in crusades largely defined by Washington and at costs to both Asia and the U.S. which are as yet incalculable...

(V) The possibility of the United States initiating nuclear wr in Asia has been immeasurably increased.

(VI) Economic policies remain structured in such a way that many Asian countries face  the prospect of becoming locked into permanent dependency as the neocolonies of the US...
(Photo: Anti-War Committee of 1000)

More:

The guidelines for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation have been revised for the first time in 18 years.

The new guidelines, which confirm the direction of the security policies of the Japanese and the U.S. governments, call for “seamless” and “global” security cooperation between the two countries. They will accelerate the “integration” of the Self-Defense Forces with U.S. forces...

Underlying the revision is the Abe administration’s policy initiative to change the government’s traditional interpretation of the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense. This radical shift in security policy was formally endorsed by the Cabinet’s resolution in July last year.

Proposed security legislation in line with the Cabinet decision is the focus of the current Diet session. Although the Diet has yet to start debating the legislation, the new guidelines already reflect the Cabinet decision to make it possible for Japan to use its right to collective self-defense. They also include the SDF’s overseas minesweeping operations, an issue over which the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, Komeito, are at odds...
"Japanese Catholic leaders voice concern over Abe administration in peace message", The Asahi Shimbun, April 28, 2015:
Dated Feb. 25, the statement read: “Seventy years after the war, memory of it is fading along with memories of Japanese colonial rule and aggression with its accompanying crimes against humanity. Now, there are calls to rewrite the history of that time, denying what really happened.

“The present government is attempting to enact laws to protect state secrets, allow for the right of collective self-defense and change Article 9 of the Constitution to allow the use of military force overseas.”

Kazuo Koda, a bishop from the archdiocese of Tokyo who was involved in drafting the document, said he and other priests were initially reluctant to argue specific policy measures. “But we became convinced that we must speak out with clarity that these are wrong,” he said.
Nobel-winning novelist Kenzaburo Oe has stressed that he and others are ready and willing to carry the torch lit by the late constitutional scholar Yasuhiro Okudaira, a leading supporter of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution.

Oe was one of six people who addressed a rally April 3 on the legacy of Okudaira, a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo who died in January at age 85. About 900 intellectuals and activists attended the gathering in Chofu, Tokyo.

The writer said Okudaira believed that Article 9, the clause that outlaws war, has played a major role in molding the character of Japanese who grew up in the postwar period.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Legacy of World War II in Okinawa through Discussion & Music: Panel representing Okinawa Prefecture led by MP Keiko Itokazu • Univ. of Hawai'i Manoa • April 27, 2015


Tomorrow evening a panel of women political leaders representing Okinawa Prefecture will discuss the ongoing aftereffects of World War II throughout communities in the islands.  Senator Keiko Itokazu, a member of the Japanese National Diet will lead the discussion. 

Nago City Councilwomen—Kumiko Onaga, Hideko Tamanaha, Kikue Tsuhako—will also represent Okinawa in this important meeting at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa. Their visit is part of a larger outreach by Okinawa Prefecture to Hawai'i—a call for international support to stop the US-Jp military destruction of the natural cultural heritage site at Henoko and Takae. Ukwanshin Kabudan Ryukyu Performing Arts Troupe will perform. 


Ryukyuan cultural heritage included properties dating back to the Jomon period and the Silk Road era, when the Ryukyuan Kingdom was a major gateway between Tang China to Japan. This was almost all lost: the US-Japan ground war in Okinawa resulted in a near-genocidal civilian death toll and near-total destruction of Okinawan material cultural heritage.

Now, during the 70th anniversary of the World War II sacrifice of Okinawa, the US & Japanese governments want to force through the destruction of Henoko and Yambaru, the most important of what remains of Okinawan natural cultural heritage. The Yanbaru ecoregion includes the prefecture's most biodiverse, healthiest coral reef; only dugong habitat; and a subtropical rainforest. Two species in Yanbaru (the dugong and the Okinawa Woodpecker) are natural monuments. Shrines and shell middens at Henoko go back millennia. 

which strives to preserve the traditions of Ryukyu/Okinawa
 through education using the stage, workshops, and community programs.

The most important Okinawan value, Nuchi du Takara, means "Life, including the life of nature, is the Greatest Treasure." Yambaru is the living manifestation of this cultural value. 

Okinawans, supported by Overseas Okinawans, global environmentalists, and cultural heritage and peace activists are trying to stop this latest attempt at the military destruction of Okinawan natural cultural heritage.

For those who are not in Honolulu, Ukwanshin Kabudan Ryukyu Performing Arts Troupe will be live streaming the event from the Kamakaokalani Center for Okinawa Studies via USTREAM. Please tune in to the following link or search for ukwanshin on ustream. Those of you who can make it, please come in person to show your support!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Interrconnecting Peace Traditions: Blue Vigil in Solidarity with Okinawa on April 25 after Peace & Planet Event • Relaunch of The Golden Rule, a Quaker sailboat that protested US nuclear test bombing of the Marshall Islands in 1958

Blue Vigil in Solidarity with Okinawa in NYC on the coldest day of 2015.

Via our good friends, Blue Vigil in Solidarity with Okinawa in NYC:
With Reverend Kamoshita who has been praying in Henoko and Takae, we will have our monthly peace vigil for Okinawa! Please come and join after the Peace and Planet event.
The Okinawa vigil is part of supporting events  for the Peace and Planet Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just, and Sustainable World gathering in the NY this weekend, April 24-26. The focus of the gathering at Cooper Union in Lower Manhattan is to discuss how to encourage their governments more effectively for nuclear disarmament. Okinawan peace activists and global hibakusha (nuclear bomb and nuclear test bomb survivors) from Japan, Korea, Australia, and the Marshall Islands will participate.

Jun-san Yasuda and Peace Walkers. 
They walked from San Francisco to NYC for the Peace and Planet event. 

The Peace and Planet event precedes the ninth Nuclear Non Proliferation Review Conference which meets at the UN every 5 years. More than180 nations ratified the NPT 40 years ago, including the US, Russia, France, Great Britain and China, all nuclear states.  Article 6 of the treaty called for nuclear states to begin good faith negotiations toward the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. Unfortunately the nuclear states of Israel, North Korea, India and Pakistan have refused to the NPT.

While NPT member nuclear states have made some progress in reducing the number nuclear warheads, they [notably President Obama, as demonstrated in his 2009 Prague speech] have strengthened their commitment to "nuclear deterrence" as the cornerstone of their respective foreign policy platforms, and have turned their focus to developing a "new generation" of  "smarter" and more powerful nuclear bombs. Moreover, despite overwhelming evidence of causation of birth defects and cancers, the US government has increased the testing and use of radioactive depleted uranium weapons worldwide.

This Nuclear-Free Movement is now a 70-year old global peace tradition. For decades, downwinder survivors of nuclear test bombing began joining Japanese survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, global atomic soldiers, indigenous peoples whose lands are used for uranium mining,  nuclear test bombing, and nuclear waste storage, together in dialogue and psychological healing.  They have witnessed together at the Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Nevada nuclear bomb test site, the former USSR nuclear bomb test site at Kazakhstan, the Marshall Islands.  Although the struggle to abolish nuclear weapons started as a one-issue campaign, the movement is increasingly integrating at the global level with overlapping peace, environmentalist, indigenous, women's, and faith-based movements.

Albert Bigelow; Bert Bigelow; architect, former Navy commander, and Quaker, 
who sailed the ketch Golden Rule into the U.S. nuclear bomb test site
 in the Marshall Islands in 1958. This act of civil disobedience resulted 
in the arrest of Bigelow and his shipmates and their imprisonment in Honolulu. 

This year, at Peace and Planet, Ann Wright, a supporter of the Okinawa Movement, will tell the story of The Golden Rule, a crew of 4 Quakers in a 38-foot sailboat who attempted to sail from Hawaii to stop U.S. nuclear test bombing of the Marshall Islands in 1958. The U.S. Coast Guard jailed the crew twice to stop them. The Golden Rule inspired the formation of Greenpeace International, a longtime NGO supporter of Okinawa, which used boats to attempt to stop nuclear test bombing in the Pacific.

The Golden Rule was renovated by chapters of Veterans for Peace, another NGO supporter of Okinawa, in northern California. She will be launched on April 22, 2015 in Humboldt Bay, CA and sailed down the coast of California to arrive in early August in San Diego for the national Veterans for Peace conference.

Global Hibakusha will lead a workshop at the NY event at Cooper Union Great Hall on April 25. Participants include Japan Council Against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo): Japanese Hibakusha; Shim Jin Tae (Korean A-bomb survivor); Peter Watts (aboriginal nuclear test victim, Australia); Abacca Anjain-Maddison (Marshall Islands); Manny Pino (Acoma-Laguna Coalition for a Safe Environment). Their testimonies reveal and illuminate the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.  The over 2,000  nuclear test  bombings worldwide have devastated indigenous peoples and their ancestral homelands in the American Southwest, the Asia-Pacific,  Xinjiang,  China,  and Kazakhstan.  This personal level of understanding  is now recognized and discussed in the mainstream debate on nuclear weapons.


The late Western Shoshone leader Corbin Harney
praying at the Nevada Test Site on January 1, 2007.
The nuclear bomb test site was located on sacred indigenous grounds. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

NYC: Potluck dinner with Peace Walkers for a Nuclear-Free Future on April 24 • Global Hibakusha Workshop @Peace & Planet Mobilization for a Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just, & Sustainable World - April 24-26. 2015

POTLUCK DINNER WITH PEACE WALKERS 
FOR A NUCLEAR-FREE FUTURE


Jun‐san Yasuda and other Peace Walkers are completing their 500-mile walk from nuclear laboratories and uranium mines to reactors across the country uniting activists who are affected on all phases of the nuclear chain.

Join them with their urgent prayer to the United Nations where the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty Review Conference is scheduled.

Let’s meet Peace Pilgrims and think about how we can create Peace from here.

Date and Time: Friday, April 24  - 6:30pm - 8:00pm

Place: Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 1576 Palisade Ave. Fort Lee, NJ 07024

For more info, please see visit the FB page of ABLE, a human rights, environmental, and peace advocacy organization:
Guri Mehta's post, "One Earth, One Sky, entirely at peace" is a great description of Jun-san and the 2015 walk:

Jun-san Yasuda

Jun-san Yasuda is a member of the Nipponzan Myohoji, an order whose mission is to walk and pray for peace.  Guri Mehta's One Earth, One Sky, entirely at peace)  post at her Wabi-Sabi blog is a great description of the Engaged Buddhist nun and the 2015 Peace Walk:

 Jun-san Yasuda, the fearless leader of this initiative is a 66-year-old Japanese Buddhist nun. She is about 4-foot-11 inches, 100 pounds, and nothing short of a force of nature. She has walked cross-country three times.

 As we pass the Aztec dancers, who were dancing on the street for another event, she ran over and joined them in the dance. Her energy rivals that of a teenager...the elder from the Aztec group came forward with white sage incense, and blessed every-single-one-of-the-walkers before we moved on. There’s something stirring about an elder from one tribe, embracing another from a completely different tradition, who lives half-way around the world from them.

Jun-san’s teacher Nichidatsu Fujii, teacher of her Buddhist order, met Gandhi in India in 1931. Fujii was greatly inspired by the meeting and decided to devote his life to promoting non-violence. In 1947, he began constructing Peace Pagodas as shrines to World peace. They were built as a symbol of peace in Japanese cities including Hiroshima and Nagasaki where the atomic bombs took the lives of over 150,000 people. By 2000, eighty Peace Pagodas had been built around the world in Europe, Asia, and the United States. They are a symbol of non-violence dating as far back as 2000 years ago, when Emperor Ashoka of India began erecting these throughout the country.

70 years after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and 5 years after the Fukushima disaster, Jun-san believes that we must never let such disasters happen again. Carrying this urgent prayer, she and 23 others will walk from San Francisco to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the United Nations in New York City.

Many Native Americans have been present throughout these walks. And I was initially unclear on the connection, but soon realized that many nuclear power plants have historically been built on indigenous lands not just in US, but also in Canada, Australia, South and Central America, Africa, and many others. The areas are rich in uranium, which is the fuel of these power plants...Instead of focusing on other types of energy or actually reducing our own consumption, we’re heading into something that is destroying the planet.

In these times, peaceful walks like these become a symbol of people’s voice. When nuns and monks who consciously try to live peaceful lives, leave the comfort of their monasteries and hit the streets, it’s a calling to take a close look at where we might be off...

Going back to my friends understandable concern: will this walk make an impact? A group of people peacefully walking and spreading their message, made a bigger impact on me than anything I could have ever read in the news. People that are not necessarily “against” but “for.” They’re standing for peace. They’re standing for better quality of life for all of earth’s inhabitants. They’re standing for making global decisions from a space of love and not greed. They’re standing for taking responsibility for how we treat the planet. How can I not stand with those people who are doing so much on behalf of all of us? Their very existence is making as impact.
The potluck for the Peace Walkers is one of the many supporting events for the Peace and Planet Mobilization for a Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just, and Sustainable World events being held in NYC (and around the world) from April 25 to 26 .

Global Hibakusha will lead a workshop at the NY event at Cooper Union Great Hall on April 25. Participants include Japan Council Against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo): Japanese Hibakusha; Shim Jin Tae (Korean A-bomb survivor); Peter Watts (aboriginal nuclear test victim, Australia); Abacca Anjain-Maddison (Marshall Islands); Manny Pino (Acoma-Laguna Coalition for a Safe Environment). Their testimonies reveal and illuminate the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.  The 2,083 nuclear test  bombings worldwide have devastated indigenous peoples and their ancestral homelands in the American Southwest, the Asia-Pacific; the Tarim Basin in China; Kazakhstan; and India.  This personal level of consequences  is finally recognized and discussed in the mainstream debate on nuclear weapons.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ron Paul: "Why in the world would somebody think this [new US base in Okinawa] is in America's best interest for national security? I think the attack by Japan is long-time over."




"Why was Defense Secretary Carter in Japan?" - Great US video news discussion/analysis on Okinawa via Daniel McAdams and Ron Paul.  A former US Congressman, Paul, together with former US Congressman Dennis Kucinich, notably supported former PM Hatoyama's efforts to close Futenma unconditionally in 2010.

In the same year, American traditional and libertarian conservatives, democracy- and peace-oriented liberals, and progressives initiated a movement called "Come Home America" to challenge the U.S. neocon foreign policy of global expansionism by preemptive wars and military force.

Despite diverse orientations, these foreign policy positions all represent American traditions that have antecedents dating back to the American Revolution.  Peace and noninterventionist adherents from these traditions represented the American mainstream until Dec. 7, 1941, when the military Japanese government's bombing of Pearl Harbor gave President Roosevelt a reason to enter the Second World War.

The first US bases on Okinawa were built during the ground war against Imperial Japan, to bomb Japanese cities, and to prepare for an invasion of the Japanese mainland. After the Japanese military government surrender on August 15, 1945, the US did not close the wartime bases on Okinawa, which were built on land seized from civilians who were put in detention camps during the war.  Instead, the US kept Okinawans in the camps (for up to 2 years) while seizing more private and public property, and building even more bases on them. Futenma is one of the bases that was built during the war. It is now a V-22 Osprey training base.  It is situated in the middle of a city because the base was built on the site of a former village. Some of the land owners relocated to property adjacent to the base to be close to family burial tombs that are now inside the base. During bulldozing, the US military actually destroyed some burial tombs; their remains may be seen sticking out of the fence around the base.

Camp Schwab, which is where the US wants to "relocate" Futenma and build a new military port, over the coral reef and dugong habitat, was built on land that also belongs to Okinawans. The US seized 5,000 acres of private and public lands for the base during the 1950's "Bayonets and Bulldozers" period of massive US base expansion throughout the prefecture.  The U.S. seized entire villages comprising tens of thousands of the best farm and coastal land in Okinawa  displacing 250,000 Okinawans who could only watch as their ancestral homes, farms, tombs, and cultural properties were taken by gunpoint and destroyed by American soldiers. Okinawans who resisted were assaulted and arrested. In Henoko, the Army officer in charge of the land acquisition for Camp Schwab even seized land to build an "entertainment" district of 200 bar/brothels.  The base's Red Light district "Appletown" was named after him.

Excerpts from the Ron Paul-Daniel McAdams discussion on Okinawa:
Ron Paul: Tell us what this is all about.

Daniel McAdams: Well, unfortunately, it's not all about all these troops that have been there since World War II. In fact, it's a celebration of the return of Japanese militarism, ironically. This review of the US-Japanese relationship will allow Japan to be more actively involved in US operations, they say, only in defense of an ally under attack, but... [knowing glance at Ron Paul].

Ron Paul: There are days that I am hopeful the president will be less interventionist and hawkish as the neocon Republicans. But then again, there's always a "good war" to fight, there's chaos in the Middle East, so he says, "I guess we have to ship our interests to the Far East."

I don't think China is too happy about us advancing militarism with Japan, but that remains to be seen. There's still another issue about what we should be doing in Japan. We still have 40,000 troops in Japan. And you know what my position has been for a long time, "Just bring them home..."

There are a lot of Japanese citizens annoyed with this, especially in Okinawa. Didn't we have some visitors in our congressional office dealing with this very subject?

Daniel McAdams: ...we had some fairly high-ranking individuals from the Okinawan government and different citizens' groups. What they're upset about is the US has had this base in the most densely part of Okinawa. You can imagine the noise pollution...So the US-Japan solution is "Okay we will remove this to a more remote part of the island. The problem with that is that this is one of the most pristine nature preserves that the U.S. military's going to take over. They're already drilling into the [live coral reef] seabed and the people who live there do not want this. They are really opposed to this.

Ron Paul: I am sure our government's goal was to announce the military debate that they're having there, but this pops up. This might be the biggest issue going, way bigger than our secretary is talking about.  The [former] governor of Okinawa took the position that he was with the people...then he changed his mind at the last minute and went along with the American government. And what happened? He lost the election.

Daniel McAdams: Exactly. He lost to a challenger who made it his number 1 campaign issue: "I'll fight Washington and Tokyo to prevent the moving of this base and to get rid of the base in the downtown. His name is Onaga and he's enormously popular now. He has an over 80% approval rating...He's a David against a big Goliath.

Ron Paul: It does raise a topic that is generally ignored in all this talk about our troops. People don't like to have them there. Increasing our military relationship with Japan. Why in the world would somebody think this is in America's best interest for national security?

It seems like it costs a little bit of money. We're not going to be attacked by Japan. I think the attack by Japan is long-time over. I don't see any way this can be construed as for national security.

It seems maybe a special interest, say the military-industrial complex. Somebody else might benefit from this. How in the world would the average American taxpayer get any benefit from pursuing this and insisting we change these bases around instead of the very simple solution: Just bring the troops home.

Daniel McAdams:...There was a really funny scene in the State Dept. press briefings. One of the great reporters Matt Lee from the AP always challenges the briefer.

She was complaining how the Russians are always flying planes around in eastern Asia to show us how horrible they were. Then Matt Lee pointed out isn't is true that we're also flying planes around there constantly. And actually increasingly so. It was a comical scene to see her trying to defend this.

Ron Paul: I don't think they're interested in being consistent. If Russia is influencing their neighbor or in the open sea, then all of a sudden, they're the worst people in the world.  Our people don't generally stop and think we're in 150 countries. Our Special Forces are in a lot of these countries; none of this goes well.

They send our defense secretary over there and he's expanding our military cooperation with Japan. There are some hawks in Washington that think China is an enemy. Nixon was not my favorite president, but things changed dramatically with opening the door to China. The odds are so slim that China is going to militarily attack us...

It seems like some of the people who run our foreign policy are obsessed and can't stand  the idea of peace breaking out...

Do you think very many  people knew that our secretary of defense was in Japan negotiating more militarism or do they care about the new air base in Okinawa?

Daniel McAdams: It's unfortunate that you don't see a lot of this reported in the mainstream media in the US.

Ron Paul: ...the point I tried to make was "What if they did it to us? Should we ever do something to somebody else that we wouldn't want them to do to us?" And of course that was blasphemy [to neocons].

I don't think this is a danger spot. It's this subtleness, this moving, this changing things. I'd like them to address the issue of bases in Germany and Japan. I'm afraid when they do, it will be in the midst of the bankruptcy of this country.
Japanese summary/ translation of the Paul-McAdams talk by KM, via I WITNESS OSPREY on FB.

 ロン・ポール元連邦議会下院議員が主催しているメディアで、普天間海兵隊基地の返還問題をとりあげているのをたまたま聴きました。 二人の話をきいていて、こちら(米国)の主要メディアは翁長知事の主張とその根拠(これが大事だとおもいます)を、まだ取り上げていないことをしりました。 どのようにしたら、とりあげさせることができるでしょうか? 参考になるかと思い、紹介してみました。 私は昨年12月に、連邦議会下院のマイク・ホンダ議員の補佐官と話す機会を得たときに、知事選挙での翁長知事の主張をつたえたら、理解して協力してくれるようになりましたよ。

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lambert Strether: Toward Absolutist Capitalism: "TPP elevates capitalization — the expectation of profit — as a principle to the principles of, say, the Bill of Rights, or the Declaration of the Rights of Man."

The TPP's “Investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) provision elevates foreign corporations doing business in host countries to the same status as sovereign governments. It would allow foreign corporations to bring frivolous lawsuits for profit against host governments, simply by claiming an environmental protection or public safety law may affect expected profit. Judgments would be rendered by secret arbitration panels composed of corporate attorneys who may represent arbitrating parties. 

The process would be unaccountable to and entirely outside of the legal structure of the respective host countries.  This raises concerns about conflict of interest, corruption at multiple levels, national sovereignty, and checks and balances.

The controversial mechanism was  introduced in a 1959 trade agreement between Germany and Pakistan, and has since been duplicated in numerous international corporate trade and investment treaties, most notoriously, the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1994. Government-chasing lawyers who designed the mechanism also developed a new industry to take advantage of the easy pickings from the deep pockets of taxpayers in affected nations.  A litany of arbitrary, abusive, parasitic judgments in favor of foreign corporations against host governments have followed.

This clear analysis, which contextualizes the ISDS within the TPP's absolutist capitalist ideology, by Lambert Strether of Corrente, reposted at Naked Capitalism, is a must-read:
There are many excellent arguments against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), two of which — local zoning over-rides, and loss of national sovereignty — I’ll briefly review as stepping stones to the main topic of the post: Absolutist Capitalism, for which I make two claims:

1) The TPP implies a form of absolute rule, a tyranny as James Madison would have understood the term, and

2) The TPP enshrines capitalization as a principle of jurisprudence.

Zoning over-rides and lost of national sovereignty may seem controversial to the political class, but these two last points may seem controversial even to NC readers. However, I hope to show both points follow easily from the arguments with which we are already familiar. Both flow from the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, of which I will now give two examples.

TPP’s ISDS and Local Zoning

I’m starting with local zoning because I think it’s an issue where “strange bedfellows” [Ralph Nader's Public Citizen & Cato, a think tank individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace.  on left and right can work together (and so letter writing campaigns and visits to Congressional offices can be organized accordingly). I think it will be very hard to find find a constituency for a foreign corporation determining local land use, and easy to find constituencies against it.

TPP’s ISDS and State Sovereignty

Even though sovereignty, as an issue, seems absurdly large put beside zoning, I choose it because it too is an issue where the grassroots on left and right can unite. After all, whether you are a big government liberal who admires FDR, or a small government conservative who admires Coolidge, you don’t want the government of your country to be under the sway of an unelected, trans-national entity like Agenda 21 New World Order the ISDS putative courts.

[T]he investment chapter for the TPP was leaked, and the excellent Public Citizen[2] published it (link to the PDF). Their summary in relevant part describes the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions:
...Yet in a manner that would enrage right and left alike, the private “investor-state” enforcement system included in the leaked TPP text would empower foreign investors and corporations to skirt domestic courts and laws and sue governments in foreign tribunals. There, they can demand cash compensation from domestic treasuries over domestic policies that they claim undermine their new investor rights and expected future profits. This establishes an alarming two-track system of justice that privileges foreign corporations in myriad ways relative to governments or domestic businesses. It also exposes signatory countries to vast liabilities, as foreign firms use foreign tribunals to raid public treasuries.
...The TPP Implies a Form of Absolute Rule, a Tyranny as James Madison Would Have Understood the Term. First, the ISDS tribunals, putatively courts, are completely unaccountable...

Second, the ISDS tribunals are riddled with conflicts of interest and open invitations to corruption...

Third, there is no appeal from the judgements of these putative courts...

Fourth and finally, the discretion of the ISDS tribunals is so great that they can write the rules, as well as interpret them. Public Citizen:

There are no new safeguards that limit ISDS tribunals’ discretion to create ever-expanding interpretations of governments’ obligations to foreign investors and order compensation on that basis.The leaked text reveals the same “safeguard” terms that have been included in U.S. pacts since the 2005 Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). CAFTA tribunals have simply ignored the “safeguard” provisions that the leaked text replicates for the TPP, and have continued to rule against governments based on concocted obligations to which governments never agreed.

In  the first three points, the ISDS tribunals are acting as putative courts, albeit conflicted, potentially corrupt, and anti-democratic and unaccountable courts...

The TPP Enshrines Capitalization as a Principle of Jurisprudence...

I’ll use the definition from Capital as Power (hat tip alert reader Sibiriak), by Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler, which I’m reading with great interest. Page 153 and following:
... capitalization represents the present value of a future stream of earnings: it tells us how much a capitalist would be prepared to pay now to receive a flow of money later.

By the 1950s, capitalization was finally established as the heart of the capitalist nomos...

And, so, finally the floodgates were open. Nowadays, every expected income stream is a fair candidate for capitalization. And since income streams are generated by social entities, processes, organizations and institutions, we end up with the ‘capitalization of every thing’. Capitalists routinely discount human life, including its genetic code and social habits; they discount organized institutions from education and entertainment to religion and the law; they discount voluntary social networks; they discount urban violence, civil war and international conflict; they even discount the environmental future of humanity. Nothing seems to escape the piercing eye of capitalization: if it generates earning expectations it must have a price, and the algorithm that gives future earnings a price is capitalization...
Of course, government — at least hitherto — has re-ordered prices, income steams, claims on future income streams, and capitalization generally since forever; one might even say that’s the purpose of government, its raison d’etre, at least in a capitalist society.[4] However, TPP’s jurisprudential innovation is to reframe such re-ordering as “expropriation,” and to set up the ISDS to compensate the capitalists for it...

TPP elevates capitalization — the expectation of profit — as a principle to the principles of, say, the Bill of Rights, or the Declaration of the Rights of Man. And then, government, when it provides concrete material benefits to its citizens, must “compensate” capitalists whenever their calculated, immaterial expectations — capitalization — have been “expropriated.” What a racket! TPP is the biggest enclosure in the history of the world!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

World Heritage Day: Nuchi du Takara (Life—including the life of nature—is the Greatest Treasure)

Nuchi du Takara (Life—including the life of nature—is the Greatest Treasure). 
(Photo: K.M.)

Today is World Heritage Day, a day launched by UNESCO in 2005, to heighten the global public's awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage & the efforts required to conserve it, as well as draw attention to its vulnerability.

Yanbaru subtropical rainforest. (Photo: Yoshio Shimoji)

Yanbaru, the magnificent ecoregion of northern Okinawa—mountains, subtropical rainforest, rivers, wetlands, and Henoko's dugong and coral reef ecosystem—is Okinawa's most important natural heritage site. Henoko is one of the most biodiverse and beautiful coastal areas in all Japan and the Asia-Pacific. With the support of Japan's Environmental Ministry, Okinawa Prefecture nominated the ecoregion for official recognition on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2012.

The coral reef is the last fully intact coral reef in all of Okinawa and Japan. It is home to almost 400 types of healthy coral (including the rare, mysterious blue coral); over 1,000 species of marine life  (including the beloved dugong, an indigenous sacred icon and natural monument); hawksbill, loggerhead, and green sea turtles; crustaceans; anemone; reef fish; and sea grass.  

Henoko's magnificent dugong and coral reef habitat.

Okinawan traditional heritage is inseparable from the natural world: the Okinawa dugong is an indigenous sacred icon. The shell middens on Cape Henoko go back thousands of years and people still observe traditional shrine rites preserved in this district from ancient times. Therefore, Yanbaru meets multiple requirements for UNESCO World Heritage status. It "bears a unique testimony to a cultural tradition which is living." The area is an "outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture, or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change."

Sea Turtle and Okinawa Dugong, a  sacred cultural icon and protected natural monument. 
Photo courtesy: Takuma Higashionna

The international community, from marine scientists to environmentalists to indigenous cultural and historic preservation advocates, have supported locals and Okinawans for 20 years in efforts to protecting this invaluable world natural cultural heritage because the world recognizes its universal value and importance.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Okinawa International Peace Research Institute: Ie Island, April 16, 1945


Photograph of the US invasion of Ie Island (Iejima) on April 16, 1945, via Okinawa International Peace Research Institute.

The US training bases on the island date back to airstrips built in April 1945 to firebomb Japanese cities during the last months of WWII. US soldiers burned down Ie islander houses, and relocated the Ie islanders, housing them in camps in the northern part of Okinawa's main island. The islanders were not allowed to return until  two years later, even though the Japanese government surrendered 4 months after the US invasion. When they returned many residents found their farms and homes transformed into a US military base, not for the invasion of Japan, of course, but for weapons testing and war training.

The Okinawan nonviolent struggle for return of seized lands, justice, and peace began at Ie Island, under Shoko Ahagon, founder of the Okinawan civil rights movement, after the US military invaded again in 1955 to violently seize even more farmland for a bomb testing range.

More on Iejima:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hibakusha stands with Okinawans in call to save dugong & coral reef natural cultural heritage site


Sign: The Sea is the Mother of our Heart. 
Photo of Mr. Yonezawa at Henoko via Sunshine Miyagi on Twitter.

Hiroshima nuclear bomb survivor, Mr. Tetsushi Yonezawa, stands with Okinawans, in call to save the coral reef and dugong habitat at Henoko, Okinawa's most important natural cultural heritage site, from US-Japanese government  destruction. The ecoregion is home to the critically endangered Okinawa dugong, a natural monument and beloved cultural icon, and Okinawa's only fully intact and best coral reef.  The area is a living manifestation of the most important Okinawan values: Nuchi du Takara, the right to life, including the right to life of nature.

Mr. Yonezawa witnessed the nuclear bomb hitting Hiroshima from a streetcar when he was 11-years-old.  He wrote a book about his experience after the Fukushima multiple meltdowns spoke to his conscience about the need to publicly witness for a peaceful, nuclear-free world.

The Asahi published a short account of Mr. Yonezawa's memories last year:
"Something flashed somewhere with a strong blinding light. Spontaneously, I closed my eyes. Then, I heard a tremendous sound that was the most terrible sound I have ever heard. It was like a hundred thunderclaps crashing all at once just a short distance away."

...As the streetcar approached the front of the Fukuya department store at the center of downtown, the A-bomb exploded. They were then about 750 meters (0.5 mile) from the hypocenter. It is said that the bomb blast that hit them had a wind velocity of some 220 meters (720 feet) per second. The windows of the streetcar all broke at once and the streetcar filled with screams.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Japanese American History: NOT for sale — Call for cancellation of online auction of crafts & art created during WWII incarceration



4.15.15 UPDATE: JAPANESE AMERICAN OBJECTS IN LOTS 1232-1255, made in WW2 concentration camps, will be removed from the Rago auction on Friday, a company spokesman said in Lambertville, NJ, tonight. George Takei will act as an intermediary between the Rago auction house and Japanese American community institutions. The auction house agreed to a respectful sale of the artifacts after the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation sent a notice of intent to file a lawsuit against the consignor. 


Survivors and descendants of wartime Japanese-American relocation and incarceration are calling for the cancellation of a April 17 online auction of personal objects, crafts, and prisoner artwork created by Americans of Japanese descent while incarcerated by the U.S. government during the Second World War.

Rago, an online auction house based in Lambertville, New Jersey, wants to auction  hundreds of artworks and crafts that Japanese American detainees gave to art historian Allen Hendershott Eaton during his research for Beauty Behind Barbed Wire: The Arts of the Japanese in Our War Relocation Camps, a book published in 1952. After Eaton, a humanitarian, champion of American folk art and opponent of the mass incarceration, died in 1962, his estate fell into private hands.

The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation asked  the consignors to consider a private, negotiated sale with community-supported non-profit institutions.  After the consignor refused this suggestion, the HWMF secured pledges from board members and friends to make a substantial cash offer—one that exceeded the estimated auction value. However, this offer was refused, for inexplicable reasons.

Japanese Americans have started an online Facebook page: Japanese American History: Not for Sale to call for a cancellation of the online auction.  They are asking for Rago to allow them reasonable period of time to arrange a respectful and mutually acceptable sale of the collection to an institution.

Today the group released a community letter:
April 13, 2015

Dear David Rago, Suzanne Perrault and Miriam Tucker:

We have learned that Rago Arts and  Auction will put up for sale 450 prisoner craft objects, personal items, artworks and heritage artifacts from the Japanese American concentration camps of WW II in Lots 1232-1255 on April 17. These items were given -- not sold -- to the original collector, Allen H. Eaton, under the assumption that they would be shown in an exhibition to tell the story of the mass, illegal incarceration.

“They offered to give me things to the point of embarrassment, but not to sell them,” Eaton wrote in his 1952 book, “Beauty Behind Barbed Wire: The Arts of the Japanese In Our War Relocation Camps.” Eaton was opposed to the mass incarceration and devoted himself to gathering examples of the creations that emerged from the camps, planning for a future exhibition and photographic display. He received official support toward what was meant to be a public project, not the creation of a private collection. Selling these treasures of Japanese American heritage would contravene Eaton’s original intent.

The auctioning of our cultural property -- handmade and donated by men, women and children whom their own government held against their will -- is wrong. There is no time before the auction to properly examine issues including provenance, ethics, and the propriety of disposing of our cultural patrimony by selling it off to the highest bidder.

We request that you pull these lots from the auction and delay the sale until a proper examination can be undertaken.

Auctioning these cultural products of the forced removal and incarceration is akin to auctioning Holocaust property, slave shackles, and Native American spiritual artifacts. The Archaeological Resources Protection Act and the Locke, California, “right of first refusal,” enacted against California’s alien land laws, sought to rectify similar abuses.

Placing this historical heritage on the auction block sullies the reputations of both Eaton’s descendants and Rago Arts. The pending sale of these donated objects has caused anguish and outrage in our community, which is being expressed in letters, petitions, news coverage and a Facebook page, "Japanese American History: NOT for Sale”: www.facebook.com/japaneseamericanhistorynotforsale.

Our community’s goal is to educate and correct, not to vilify or cast blame. We urge you to pause the rush to auction, in the spirit of making this right for everyone.

Ad Hoc Committee to Oppose the Sale of Japanese American Historical Artifacts

Saturday, April 11, 2015

What was the truth of the hidden US-Japan ground war in Okinawa?



A US Army cameraman filming the fierce US-Japan ground war in Okinawa did his job "filming US soldiers fighting bravely" at first. But after he witnessed the terrible suffering of Okinawans, he couldn't stand it. The cameraman started to photograph the entire war, but his film was censored by the U.S. military. NHK produced a documentary on his experience in 2011 and it will be rebroadcast tomorrow.


The U.S. military recorded the Battle of Okinawa on film in detail; however Okinawan civilian noncombatants and locations were not identified. Over 140,000 Okinawan civilians were killed. Combatant deaths were significantly lower: around 12,000 US soldiers and 70,000 Japanese soldiers.

The "One-foot Film Movement", an Okinawan postwar grassroots organization bought documentary film (one foot at a time) from U.S. government archives  — to preserve the memory of these people, their families, their wartime history and to show why the Okinawan people desire peace.  The nonprofit started in 1983 as the Civil Movement to Provide Children With Lessons of the Battle of Okinawa and closed its 30-year operations in 2013 at a ceremony held at the Yashio Rest House in Naha. The organization had collected 50 hours of film.


Since February,  NHK has been rebroadcasting documentary films of this wartime history including Okinawan "One Foot Movement" documentary films.

In a 2005 documentary , a NHK director searched for the real people and places in these films, the visible memory of their wartime experience. Over 240,000 people were killed during the fierce US-Japanese ground war in Okinawa. What was the truth of this war? 


These and other archival NHK documentaries, especially the films and footage collected by the Okinawan One-Foot Film Movement, explore this history in a search for the memories of Okinawans who were killed during or somehow survived the worst ground battle of the Pacific War.

The NHK documentaries will be rebroadcast through July 5.

Schedule: http://www.nhk.or.jp/okinawa/okinawasen70/archives/

Info on broadcast and more on the ground war between the US and Japan in Okinawa via Okinawa Prefectural Peace Center (沖縄国際平和研究所):

沖縄国際平和研究所が、資料提供をさせていただいた番組および沖縄戦関連番組の放送予定をお知らせします。
=沖縄戦関連番組=
『戦後70年企画 NHKが見つめた沖縄戦』
http://www.nhk.or.jp/okinawa/okinawasen70/archives/
「カメラマンが見た沖縄戦 隠された戦場の事実」
(2011年6月26日放送)

■日にち:2015年4月12日(日)13:50~
■放送局:NHK沖縄
 ※沖縄県域での放送です。

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Okinawa Gov. Onaga: "Okinawa has never voluntarily provided bases. Futenma, & all other bases, were taken with 'Bayonets and Bulldozers' while Okinawans were in concentration camps during & after the war."

On March 23, Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga demands that the Japanese government
 stop landfill preparation at the natural cultural heritage site at Henoko 
so that the prefectural government can assess damage to Okinawa's only fully intact coral reef, 
and habitat of the critically endangered Okinawa dugong, a protected natural monument.
(Photo: Japan Times via Kyodo)

Unofficial summary/translation of Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga's response to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga at their April 5, 2015 meeting:
As you [Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga] said, Okinawa, which comprises 0.6% of Japanese terrirtory, has been burdened with 74% of US bases in Jp. Okinawa has supported the Ampo(US-Jp Security Treaty) system for 70 years after the war, with mixed emotions, both pride and pain at the same time.

With my political background, I fully understand the importance of Japan-US Ampo. You talk about the Senkakus, but unless the whole nation is ready to take the burden of Ampo, what would this kind of national defense (one in which Okinawa is overburdened) look like from the eyes of other nations? Japan's security, Ampo, & the Jp-US military alliance must be done as the people of Japan as a whole (not just Okinawa).

You said you might move [V-22 transport aircraft] Osprey to the mainland, but without any of the major bases relocating to the mainland, our overburden may not change. That's been the case in the last 70 years.

And no matter how much we express what we need, Okinawa's concerns won't be taken care of within the existing SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement).  SOFA must be fundamentally revised.

I want to stress that Okinawa has never voluntarily provided bases. Futenma, and all other bases, were taken with "Bayonets and Bulldozers" while Okinawans were in concentration camps during and after the war.

You took land from us, you made us suffer until today, and now you think it [Futenma] is dangerous and has to be removed. Then you ask us to take the burden of replacement. You ask us whether we have an alternative plan. You ask us to think about the security of Japan. (Why do we have to think about these?) It just shows deterioration (daraku) of Japanese politics.

.... two years ago, the day when the [1952] San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect was celebrated. It was a celebration of Japan's regaining independence. But it was the day when Okinawa was detached from Japan. It was a sad day for us. When we heard "Banzai!" at the ceremony, I thought, "Are they even thinking about Okinawa?"

During those 27 years under US military occupation, when Japan enjoyed economic prosperity, we were struggling to gain autonomous rights during. The hardship was beyond anyone's imagination.

You and I both went to Hosei University. But until I was 22-years-old, I used my [USCAR (US Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands) "Resident of the Ryukyus"] passport, and had money sent in US dollars. When I look back, I wonder, "What was Okinawa really supporting during those 27 years?

You always use the word "shukushuku to" (solemnly).  It means you are just going ahead with the Henoko base construction and we have no say. Such attitude reminds me of Lt. Gen Paul W. Caraway, US High Commissioner in the old time. He said there was no such thing as autonomy for Okinawa. Whenever you use the word "shukushuku', it reminds me of Caraway, and makes me wonder what did those 70 years (after the war) mean for us?

Then the guy called Price came, and with what was called "Price Recommendation," US tried to buy out land from Okinawans [with one-time] lump sum payments [for tens of thousands of acres private property the US military forcibly seized from 230,000 Okinawans from WWII through the 1950's]. We were all poor then, and desperately wanted the money, but rejected the offer.

Now, the land [albeit leased to the Jp and US govts] is ours. In light of such history of our struggle, no such word as "shukushuku" can threaten us. The more you use such condescending words, the more the minds of Okinawan people are turned away, and the angrier they become. I absolutely believe that it is impossible to build the Henoko base.

It is the power of the Okinawan people... our pride, our confidence, and our thoughts for our children and grandchildren, coming together. It is impossible to build the base. And the Japanese government bears the entire responsibility for any costs associated with cancellation of this base. The world is watching this test of Japanese democracy.

Let me ask you. Both you and Rumsfeld think Futenma was the "most dangerous base in the world." You try to brainwash Okinawans and the people of all of Japan, telling them that "in order to remove Futenma's danger, Henoko is the only way." Is it? Will Futenma stay permanently if the Henoko plan falters?

You talk about the base reduction, but after all these bases are returned, what will be the base burden ratio for Okinawa? It will only reduce from 73.8% to 73.1%. Why? Because all these bases will be relocated WITHIN the prefecture, including Naha military port and Camp Kinser. Your talk of base reduction may sound convincing, but if you really look at the numbers, this is what it is about (from 73.8% to 73.1% only).

And you say you will return Naha military port by 2025, and Camp Kinser by 2028. Then what? It (the agreement) says the rest will be returned "later." What kind of Japanese language is that? You give a sweet talk to get through the day, but then quickly you forget about it. It has been our experience of the past 70 years. This is why, even when you talk about moving Osprey to this place and that place, we are in doubt, thinking that maybe it will take another 50 years.

Prime Minister Abe keeps saying he will, "take Japan back." Does that "Japan" include Okinawa?

.. the only difference between me and Mr. Nakaima is Henoko. There was a difference of 100,000 votes between me and him. Understand that I won on the Henoko issue, not other issues.

Now, the economy. When 9/11 happened, Okinawa lost 40% of its tourists. The damage was significant. Senkaku, I understand them as Japan's inherent territory. Once something happens there, I can see the million tourists to Ishigaki going down to 10% of the current number.

Okinawa's soft-power can be utilized when its peace is secured. With US bases, considering the advancement of the missile technology, one or two misses will destroy Okinawa. I suspect US and its military want to withdraw from Okinawa, and only Japan wants to keep them there for "deterrence."

I would like to meet with Prime Minister Abe too. You are a minister in charge of reducing Okinawa's base burden. I want you to cancel the Henoko plan, have proper dialogues, and resolve the base issue.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Urgent Appeal by Nobel Prize Laureate OE Kenzaburo and 20 other leading Japanese intellectuals calling for the immediate suspension of construction of the US military base at Henoko, Okinawa.

Photo: Nobelprize.org
Urgent Appeal by Nobel Prize Laureate OE Kenzaburo and 20 other leading Japanese intellectuals calling for the immediate suspension of construction of the US military base at Henoko, Okinawa.

We are deeply concerned about issues surrounding the construction of an American military base in Henoko, Okinawa. The will of the people of Okinawa prefecture is beyond doubt. INAMINE Susumu, who opposed construction of the military base in his election manifesto, was reelected mayor of Nago City in an election held in January 2014. In the November election of the prefectural governor, ONAGA Takeshi, who also opposed construction, defeated the incumbent NAKAIMA Hirokazu by an overwhelming 100,000 votes; and in the general election held in December, anti-construction candidates won every seat. The fierce determination of the people of Okinawa prefecture to oppose construction of the American military base at Henoko has been demonstrated by “all Okinawa” in a way that transcends ideology and creed, politics and party affiliation.

The Abe government, nevertheless, is aggressively pressing ahead with land reclamation, using as justification the Public Waters Reclamation Accord signed by the previous governor Nakaima, who late in 2013 reneged on his election manifesto. The outrageous conduct of the national government is an act of violence that insults the will of the Okinawan people and destroys the foundation of democracy and regional autonomy in Japan.

The new governor has decided to establish an “Independent Committee on Procedures Involved in the Public Waters Reclamation Accord with Regard to the Construction of a Replacement Facility for the Futenma Airfield” (henceforth “Independent Committee”) to begin investigating whether there were any legal irregularities in the procedures undertaken by the previous governor NAKAIMA Hirokazu in concluding the Public Waters Reclamation Accord. In other words, there is a real possibility that the legitimacy of the reclamation accord, or the environmental assessment upon which it rests, may be stripped away. For the government of a purportedly democratic nation, the obvious course of action should be to suspend landfill operations at least during the period of investigation.

Governor Onaga announced a new decision on March 23. He ordered the Okinawa Defense Bureau to halt all operations, including boring exploration. In the event that his order is not carried out, he is considering rescinding the permit allowing coral reef shattering along the Henoko coast. If the government continues to insist on aggressively pushing ahead with construction, we fear not only a serious confrontation with the people of Okinawa prefecture and the fomenting of mistrust toward the mainland, but also the collapse of trust toward the nation of Japan inside the country and abroad.

We hereby declare our support for Governor Onaga’s position rejecting base relocation and our full support for his decisions pertaining to the order to suspend operations and to rescind the permit allowing reef shattering. We urgently call upon the government to heed the following requests:

The Japanese government should immediately suspend all operations relating to Henoko land reclamation [landfill], including boring exploration of the sea floor. The “Land Reclamation Accord” concluded by former Governor Nakaima, which the government uses as the basis for such operations, has been repudiated by the people of Okinawa prefecture.

Recently, the Japanese government has refused even to meet with Governor Onaga who represents the collective will of Okinawa. Such refusal repudiates regional autonomy guaranteed under the Japanese constitution and violates the spirit of democracy. Respect for the will of the people forms the basis of democracy. The government should accede in good faith to Governor Onaga’s request for a meeting and participate in serious talks about the issues at hand.

We call upon the Japanese government to put into practice its own slogan of “Regional Creation” by transferring to Okinawa Prefecture the actual authority to resolve issues connected to military bases and the construction of an autonomous economy.

The Minister for the Environment has a responsibility to provide appropriate commentary from a standpoint of environmental conservation with regard to the contents of the Environmental Impact Evaluation Report on reclamation operations for the construction of the American military base at Henoko. According to the Environmental Conservation Guidelines for the Island of Okinawa, Henoko and surrounding coastal regions in particular, designated as “zones for evaluating the strict preservation of the natural environment” (Rank 1), are precious bodies of water inhabited by numerous endangered species, not least of which is the Dugong. There is an extremely high risk that the artificial destruction and modification of natural formations will bring about absolute irreversible damage from which the island cannot recover. We urgently call upon the Minister for the Environment to carry out the solemn duty of preserving the beautiful Okinawan sea, a candidate for selection as a World Heritage Site.

Frustration and anger at a situation in which 74% of US military bases are forced onto Okinawa, which comprises only 0.6% of Japanese territory, underlie the determination of the people of Okinawa prefecture to oppose the construction of a new base at Henoko. We call upon Japanese citizens to squarely face this situation, which may be said to be a form of structural discrimination; and urge that all Japan should include this burden in considering issues of Japanese security.

April 1, 2015
(Translated by Charles Cabell. List of petitioners omitted.)