Overseas intellectuals publish statement urging Governor Onaga to revoke his predecessor’s approval of Henoko landfill
August 23, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo Sakae Toiyama reports from Washington D.C.
Seventy-four prominent intellectuals from the United States, Australia and other countries published a joint statement urging Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga to cancel his predecessor Hirokazu Nakaima’s approval of landfill in Henoko, Nago, on August 21. There, the governments of Japan and the United States are advancing construction of a new U.S. base to replace U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan. The statement is titled, “The World is Watching: International Scholars, Artists, and Activists Petition to Prevent a New U.S. Military Base in Okinawa.”
A third party committee for the Okinawa Prefectural Government has tabled the results of a legal report that found a flaw in the former governor’s landfill approval process.
The intellectuals, referring to the results, stressed that if the governor does not cancel the former governor’s approval, he will be complicit in an illegal process .
Their statement’s release coincided with the committee’s submission of the report and the start of an intensive, one-month consultation between the government of Tokyo and Okinawa, in which construction work for the relocation plan has been suspended.
This statement aims to pressure the governor to cancel his predecessor’s approval of the landfill.
The statement was issued under the name of prominent intellectuals, including Noam Chomsky, a famous American linguist and Oliver Stone, an Academy Award-winning film director, who both also published a statement last year opposing the Henoko relocation and asking for the immediate and unconditional return of the Futenma base .
This year, Morton Halperin, a key negotiator in the 1972 Okinawa Reversion Agreement between the United States and Japan,has become a signatory of the statement for the first time.
In the document, the intellectuals criticize the Japanese government, which has asserted that it will advance the construction of the new base, regardless of the result of the intensive consultation with the Okinawa Prefectural Government.
The statement highlighted that the people understand how concentrating the U.S. military bases in the prefecture amounts to structural discrimination against Okinawa. They pointed out that the governor has a legal obligation to revoke his predecessor’s approval of the landfill and respect the results of the third party’s legal report.
(English translation by T&CT)
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