Kenzaburo Oe sends heartfelt support for fight in Henoko

Kenzaburo Oe sends heartfelt support for fight in Henoko

Kenzaburo Oe

August 7, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

Recently, Kenzaburo Oe, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, sent to the Ryukyu Shimpo a letter about his engagement with Okinawa over many years and about the new military base being built to replace MCAS Futenma. Regarding the situation in Henoko, Nago City, where the construction of a new base is being pushed forward forcefully, Oe appealed to the people of Japan, writing, “I want to send my heartfelt encouragement to the powerful, determined fight being carried out in Okinawa against the Abe administration. We need to echo this spirit throughout all of Japan.”

The document is titled, “I was not able to communicate with the youth of Okinawa.” It spans 17 pages, and includes an apology for having to cancel a talk planned for June 21 in Ginowan City due to health problems. It also describes his engagement with Okinawa over more than half a century, and the way he felt when he visited Henoko.

He took a boat tour of Oura Bay on June 20, the day before his talk was scheduled. Describing the situation in Oura Bay and around Camp Schwab, he expressed great shock at the way in which construction of the base, which will be a semi-permanent facility equipped with the latest high-tech machinery, is continuing despite resistance from Okinawans.
In reference to his long relationship with Okinawa, he wrote, “Nuclear weapons and military bases have always been a central issue since the very beginning of my engagement with Okinawa.” He explains that he began to deepen his thinking about the US bases in Okinawa and the dangers of nuclear war after reading the 1959 thesis of international political scholar Yoshikazu Sakamoto.

(Translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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