Intellectuals including Nobel Prize winner release statement calling for stop new US base
April 2, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
On April 1, 22 Japanese intellectuals, including Kenichi Miyamoto, emeritus professor at Osaka City University and the Nobel Prize winner, novelist Kenzaburo Oe, released a statement seeking an immediate stop to the reclamation work at Henoko, Nago. The governments of Japan and the United States are moving forward with construction of a U.S. air base to replace Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. The intellectuals stressed in the statement that the Okinawan people are clearly opposed to the construction of the new U.S. base.
They have encouraged others to sign the online petition. They aim to collect tens of thousands signatures which they will submit to the government.
Shunichi Teranishi, specially-appointed professor at Hitotsubashi University, and Osamu Nishitani, professor at Rikkyo University, who initiated this statement, held a press conference at the Upper House members’ building in Tokyo on April 1. They questioned the legitimacy of the environmental assessment – something required for the work to proceed – which had been signed by the previous governor of Okinawa. They also noted that the current governor, Takeshi Onaga, has set up an independent committee to examine whether that environmental assessment is still valid. They said that if the government proclaims itself democratic, it should suspend the reclamation works until the verification process is completed. They also asked the government to suspend any boring surveys.
In the statement, the intellectuals say they would fully support Governor Onaga if he were to cancel the permit allowing preparatory construction work on the Henoko seabed.
They sent the statement to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on April 1. They plan to submit the online petition to the government on May 20.
This signature campaign can be found at http: //mcaf.ee./a2gd9
(English translation by T&CT)
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