All Okinawa Council delegation to US meets with citizens’ groups, conveys opposition to base construction

All Okinawa Council delegation to US meets with citizens’ groups, conveys opposition to base construction

Delegation leader Morimasa Goya (from right), Suzuyo Takazato and Hideki Yoshikawa

November 17, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo Sakae Toiyama reports from Washington DC

On November 15, the All Okinawa Council delegation to the United States, led by Kanehide Group president Morimasa Goya, arrived in California. That afternoon, they met with various peace, labor, and other organizations to exchange ideas and opinions, express the Okinawan people’s opposition to the planned construction of a new base in Henoko, Nago as part of the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, and called for an end to the base construction plans. After meeting with the delegates, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) adopted a resolution expressing solidarity with the people of Okinawa in opposition of the Henoko base construction.

The delegation also participated in a forum held by Women for Genuine Security (WGS) and six other US-based civil society organizations. Delegation leader Morimasa Goya, Suzuyo Takazato of Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, and Hideki Yoshikawa of the Citizens’ Network for Biodiversity in Okinawa gave presentations and explained the details of Okinawa’s current situation.

Morimasa Goya explained that while when Okinawa was returned to Japan in 1972 after 27 years under U.S. administrative control, income from the U.S. military bases made up 15.5 percent of Okinawa’s gross prefectural income, that percentage has now shrunk to a mere 5.4 percent. He described how now, the U.S. military bases are actually an obstacle to economic development in Okinawa. Suzuyo Takazato discussed the issue of sexual violence against women that has persisted for 70 years since the end of World War II.

Hideki Yoshikawa discussed the fact that Governor Takeshi Onaga has nullified his predecessor’s authorization of the land reclamation permit needed to build the new base in Henoko. He explained that although the U.S. government claims that the Futenma relocation issue is a Japanese domestic issue, it bear responsibility for issuing entrance permits to construction vehicles entering Camp Schwab to prepare for the base construction. He emphasized that the United States is an active player in this issue, and asked U.S. citizens to call upon the U.S. government to stop issuing these entrance permits.

(Translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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