Director of US peace organization visits Okinawa
August 12, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
On the afternoon of August 11, Paul Martin, the policy director of Peace Action, one of the United States’ largest peace organizations, visited the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly. Martin exchanged opinions on the U.S. military base issues in Okinawa with assembly members of the ruling party. Receiving a request from the Okinawa Peace Movement Center, Martin visited Okinawa to learn about the current situation concerning base issues.
His plan was to meet Nago City Mayor Susumu Inamine and visit Henoko in Nago City. After the discussion, Martin said that his organization would like to collaborate with groups in Okinawa on peace activism.
Martin also said that collaborative work between Okinawa and the United States is necessary. He argued that it would help Okinawa influence government policy on the bases if more of the Japanese public opposed the budget allocation for the U.S. military. Martin continued that Okinawan leaders should call for the reduction of the military budget through peace organizations such as Peace Action in the United States. He also said it is important to request the relocation be stopped.
The meeting with the Assembly was not open to the public. After the meeting, vice director of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center Takashi Kishimoto reported there were suggestions to make use of media in the U.S.
Kishimoto said, “Martin pointed out that lobbying at the U.S. Congress and the Department of Defense could also be effective and that it is also important to expand grassroots networks and take various approaches.” Martin met Nago City Mayor Susumu Inamine on the 12th and took part in the sit-in protest in front of Camp Schwab in Henoko, Nago. On the 13th, he visited the U.S. military facilities and took part in a gathering for the eleventh-anniversary of a helicopter crash at Okinawa International University, which was held at the Ginowan City Office.
(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)
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