Island-Wide Council to appeal to the United Nations, working with the Okinawa prefectural government

January 14, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

On January 13, Director Yoshikazu Tamaki of the “Island-Wide Council for Leading to the Future and Realizing the Okinawa Statement” has announced an international strategy at a press conference held at the Okinawa Prefectural Building. Among the plans is an enhanced effort to lobby international organizations such as the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to increase international awareness of Okinawa’s military base issues. The council will act together with Governor Takeshi Onaga, who opposes relocating Futenma Air Station to another location in Okinawa, and begin new activities as a citizen movement supporting the prefectural government.

According to the Island-Wide Council’s office, the UNHRC carries out “Universal Periodic Reviews” (UPR) on the human rights performance of each country, and the United States is scheduled for review in May.

The council will also dispatch representatives to Geneva in April to present a report on Okinawa to the UNHRC’s 47 member states during the pre-session hearing ahead of the UPR.

The report will appeal with clear explanations of the various problems arising from the presence of American military bases, the extreme military base burden on Okinawa, and the forcible manner in which the relocation of Futenma Air Station is being conducted. The council is also considering submitting a situation report to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and inviting the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on human rights to report on Okinawa.

Besides appealing to the United States Congress, United States news media, and prefecture-related people in America, the Island-Wide Council is also gathering sponsors and seeking support for its activities within Japan.

Director Tamaki explained, “We want to make known the overburdened situation of military bases in Okinawa and the movement to stop further construction of new military bases in Okinawa.” 

Tamito Matayoshi of the Island-Wide Council office emphasized, “The people of Okinawa have already strongly expressed their stance through the gubernatorial election and Lower House elections, and we are in a situation where we have no other recourse. We would like all citizens of Japan to direct some of their attention to this problem.”

(English translation by T&CT and Lima Tokumori)

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