City of Cambridge, MA second in US to pass resolution opposing Henoko base

December 24, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

On December 21, the city council of Cambridge, Massachusetts in the northeastern United States passed a resolution opposing the construction of a new base in Henoko, Nago as part of the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. It was the second such resolution passed by a city council in the United States, following the resolution by the Berkeley, California city council in September opposing the new base construction and pledging solidarity with Okinawa. The text of the Cambridge resolution is almost the same as that of the Berkeley resolution. More and more U.S. city councils are taking an interest in the issue, with the city council of Honolulu, Hawaii also planning to consider a proposed resolution opposing the Henoko base construction in January 2016.

The resolution passed by the Cambridge city council explains that one quarter of the people of Okinawa were killed in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. It also describes how the United States has maintained a massive military presence on Okinawa since the end of World War II, and how even after the U.S. military occupation of Japan ended, the Government of Japan encouraged the United States to continue to administer Okinawa.

Explaining that the Okinawan people and Governor Takeshi Onaga oppose the Henoko relocation plan, and that the plan endangers the biologically rich ecosystem of Oura Bay, the statement then declares: “The Council of the City of Cambridge joins Okinawan citizens to call upon the Government of the United States…to ensure the following steps be taken in accordance with US laws and procedures.”

The resolution is signed by Mayor Tom Bates of Cambridge and has been sent to Massachusetts Congressman Michael Capuano, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, U.S. Secretary of Defense Carter, Secretary of State Kerry, and President Obama. When the resolution proposal was under consideration, testimony was given before the city council by politics and national security scholar Joseph Gerson, Ph.D., of the American Friends Service Committee. Gerson is a signatory of recent statements by overseas intellectuals opposing the Henoko base construction.

The city of Cambridge has a population of around 100,000. It is home to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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