Okinawans abroad lobby for support, endorsed by Nobel laureate

April 1, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

Okinawans in the U.S. and Europe, and Okinawan Americans have newly joined forces as the Global Uchinānchu Alliance. The GUA lobbies members of the U.S. Congress to honor the will of the Okinawan people as evidenced in the prefectural referendum, in regards to the construction of a new military base in Henoko, Nago City. The organization has been endorsed by peace activist Mairead Maguire, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her role in the peaceful resolution of the Troubles in North Ireland. GUA works to spread the voices of Okinawans at home and abroad.

GUA’s core members are residents of the U.S. and Europe, namely: Ryan Yokota (Instructor, DePaul University), Annmaria Shimabukuro (Assistant Professor, New York University), Wesley Ueunten (Associate Professor, San Francisco State University).

Ireland resident, Eriko Uehara Hopkinson, is driven to expand the GUA’s global outreach. She plans to “continue fostering support for Okinawa in the international community and in Ireland, which shares historical similarities with Okinawa.”

Maguire, who actively pursues world peace and addresses human rights issues through the Nobel Women’s Initiative, responded to GUA’s call to rally support for Okinawa’s referendum results in the U.S. and Europe: “I’d like to add my own voice to the voices of the Okinawan people. The results of the referendum should be honored, and the construction of the new base in Henoko must be stopped forthwith.”
(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)

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