Campaign to stop US Military Base at Henoko

The Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases has extended support to the democratic will of the Okinawan people and opposing US military base construction at Henoko. 

It has appealed to  all peace-loving people to join the people of Okinawa in opposing the construction of the U.S. Military Base in Henoko. It has started collecting signatures from all over the globe on a petition to the White House  demanding that the construction be stopped until a democratic referendum can be held in Okinawa.  

It said that memory of the death and destruction of the Battle of Okinawa is deep and still present today, as the Japanese central government, in cooperation with the Pentagon, attempts to build yet another U.S. airstrip, one which would destroy pristine Oura Bay in Henoko, despite opposition from some 80 percent of the Okinawan people and their governor, Denny Tamaki.

Ignoring the people’s will and international opposition, including from many U.S. military veterans, the Coalition deplored that the Japanese government began pouring soil and sand into Oura Bay before noon on December 14 in Nago’s Henoko district. 

The U.S. Navy claims the construction is necessary to replace U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, often called “the most dangerous airbase in the world.”  But, it said that hugely unpopular base, which the U.S. has been promising to shut down since 1996, is currently in the densely populated residential area of Ginowan.

It cautioned that the airstrip will endanger the people, despoil a pristine environment and destroy endangered sea life, including the last few dugong (a marine mammal related to the manatee), which, according to Okinawan mythology, “has divine status—a messenger of the sea gods,” says Hideki Yoshikawa, secretariat of the non-government organization Citizens’ Network for Biodiversity in Okinawa. 

The Coalition states that this is a crisis of democracy, as the U.S. military and the right-wing Japanese government under Shinzó Abe are trampling on the democratic will of the people of Okinawa in order to build yet another base. Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki said, “I cannot help feeling strong resentment toward the work being carried out in defiance of the prefectural residents’ will.”

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