World Scholars, Artists, Activists Call for Demilitarization of Okinawa – Consortiumnews

More than one hundred scholars, peace activists and artists from around the world have issued a statement condemning the Japanese and U.S. governments’ plans to build a new base for the US Marine Corps in Northern Okinawa.

To: Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo

To: President of the United States, Donald Trump

To: Acting Governor of Okinawa, Jahana Kiichiro

To: Acting Governor of Okinawa, Tomikawa Moritake

To: The people of the world

September 7, 2018

In January 2014, more than one hundred scholars, peace activists and artists from around the world issued a statement condemning the Japanese and U.S. governments’ plans to close MCAS Futenma, which is located in the middle of a congested urban neighbourhood, and build a new base for the US Marine Corps offshore from the coastal village of Henoko in Northern Okinawa. While we applauded shutting the Futenma base, we strongly objected to the idea of relocating it inside Okinawa.

Okinawa has suffered at Japanese and American hands for more than a century. It was incorporated by force into both the pre-modern Japanese state in 1609 and into modern Japan in 1879. In 1945, it was the scene of the final major battle of World War Two, resulting in the deaths of between one-third and one-quarter of its population. It was then severed from the rest of Japan under direct US military rule for another 27 years during which the Pentagon constructed military bases, unfettered by Japanese residual sovereignty or Okinawan sentiment. Reversion to Japan took place in 1972, bases intact. In the continuing post-Cold War era, Okinawa has faced the pressure of state policies designed to reinforce that base system, not only by construction of the Henoko facility but also by the building of “helicopter pads” for the Marine Corps in the Yambaru forest of northern Okinawa and by the accelerating fortification of the chain of “Southwest” (Nansei) islands that stretch from Kagoshima to Taiwan (including Amami, Miyako, Ishigaki, and Yonaguni).

Signatories of our 2014 statement included linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky, filmmakers Oliver Stone, Michael Moore and John Junkerman, Nobel Laureate Mairead…

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