Okinawa faces a crisis. Citizens appeal for your support 26 February.
Posted on Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
February 11, 2023
To: All you folks who think peace is the better option
From: No More Battle of Okinawa: Nuchi du Takara (Life is a Treasure) People’s Association
Co-representatives: Hiroji Yamashiro; C. Douglas Lummis (and others).
Contact address: Ideaspeddler(at)gmail.com
As you may know, The US and Japanese governments have announced that, in the event of a “Taiwan contingency”, the “Southwest Islands” will become a war zone. “Contingency” is a softer way of saying “war”, and “Southwest Islands” means the Ryukyu Archipelago: Okinawa.
The two governments are not simply predicting that will happen. They are arranging so that it will happen. That is, all along the outer islands of the Ryukyu Archipelago they are building new missile launching sites, targeting China – this in addition to the formidable attack bases already on Okinawa main island. Should any of these missiles actually be fired on the Chinese mainland or against Chinese naval vessels, the Chinese military will have the right, under the international law of war, to return the fire. The Mayor of Naha [Okinawa] has already begun carrying out civil defense drills.
This is not an issue only for in-principle pacifists, who believe all war should be abolished. To fight a war in a neutral country is a violation of the law of war itself. Okinawa is not merely neutral, it is not a party to this war in any way, shape or form. Okinawa has no quarrel with China. Many see this as a replay of the Battle of Okinawa, and are asking, Are we to be the sacrificial pawns (sute-ishi in Japanese) – again?
There is a new movement forming now in Okinawa to point out the grotesque absurdity of fighting this war in Okinawa and to call for a negotiated peace. Please understand: This is a movement that can include people who accept the necessity of some wars, but not this one. (Even dedicated soldiers can, with perfect consistency, call for a negotiated peace.)
A large gathering to voice opposition to Okinawa becoming again a war zone and to demand negotiations is being planned for 26 February, Okinawa time. It would be very encouraging if you could support this action, either as an organization or as individuals – and this either by taking some simple action on the same day, or by sending messages of support.
Statement from Global Network:
The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space shares the deep concerns of the people of Okinawa about the possibility of US-NATO war against China that would directly impact your island home.
Recent belligerent words by Pentagon officials signal that Washington is indeed planning such a horrific war.
Already the US-NATO has launched a war against Russia using Ukraine as a proxy.
The US intends to do the same to China using Taiwan as the instrument to justify this war.
It is more than insane for Washington to think it can fight against two nuclear powers at virtually the same time. This is a clear sign of US desperation to remain as ‘king of the hill’.
We declare our solidarity with the people throughout the Ryukyu Archipelago and beyond.
Close US bases on Okinawa!
No war with China!
Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
China and Russia have long endured massive threats. War hawk JFK against China, Russia, and Cuba
In April 1962, the Kennedy administration ordered nuclear missiles to be sent to Japan’s Okinawa Island. The weapons were directed at the People’s Republic of China, a nation the Americans had “lost” to Communism 13 years before.
President John F. Kennedy‘s decision to aim missiles at China occurred six months before the Cuban Missile Crisis, known as the October Crisis in Cuba. The missiles Kennedy directed at Mao Zedong’s China were “near identical” to those aimed at the US, after the Soviet Union sent nuclear-armed weapons to Cuba in October 1962.
The American missiles on occupied Okinawa – an island just over 500 miles from China’s coast – were “over 75 times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima” in August 1945. The nuclear weapon that leveled Hiroshima killed about 80,000 people initially, mostly civilians. However, further tens of thousands later died after succumbing to severe radiation poisoning.
In the early 1960s, China possessed by far the world’s largest population, at almost 700 million. Any order obeyed to fire such destructive weapons at China would have killed unprecedented numbers. Yet the American missiles on Okinawa remained hidden from public knowledge, and has only come to light in recent times. The reason for Kennedy’s order for missiles to be readied on Okinawa, can be traced to intense friction between two of Asia’s largest countries.
A 1962 aerial photograph shows Okinawa’s first Mace missile site at Bolo Point, Yomitan. (Source: Larry Johnston via APJJF)
During 1962, antagonism soared between China and American-backed India – primarily over border disputes along the Himalayas. It culminated in the Sino-Indian conflict, starting on 20 October, with much of the fighting occurring at over 4,000 meters. This forgotten conflict also began in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, as the Americans were entirely distracted with Cuba. After a month of bloody fighting, China emerged victorious having secured territorial gains.
History, up to the current day, suggests the US holds the right to erect weapons wherever it chooses, ignoring the potential consequences. For example, in 1961, president Kennedy positioned intermediate-range “Jupiter” nuclear missiles in Italy and Turkey – this time aimed at Russia. The Turkish border is little more than 300 miles from Russia, separated alone by diminutive Georgia.
None of this was lost on the Russians. In May the following year (1962), the Soviet president Nikita Khrushchev complained to a confidant that the Americans “have surrounded us”. Kennedy’s reckless deployment of missiles was also a crucial factor leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Behind the thinking of his Cuban missile decision, Khrushchev explained following his retirement that the Americans
“would learn just what it feels like to have enemy missiles pointing at you; we’d be doing nothing more than giving them a little of their own medicine”.
The enormous threats against Russia also had a deeper psychological impact. Over the past century and more, Russia was repeatedly invaded and almost destroyed by invading armies. From Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1812 offensive, through to Operation Barbarossa overseen by Adolf Hitler in 1941.
The intimidation of Russia, a long-time nuclear power, has continued apace to the present day. One significant menace is the continued existence of NATO as an organization – and the presence of its troops and weapons along Russia’s frontiers. NATO receives much of its funding from America, so is in reality a tool of imperialism, posing a significant global security threat.
In more rational times Dwight D. Eisenhower, NATO’s first supreme commander, wrote in 1951 that NATO
“will have failed” if “in 10 years all American troops stationed in Europe… have not been returned to the United States”.
Eisenhower would become a re-elected US president (1953-61), so his was not a voice without weight. It would be interesting to gauge his reaction if he knew that, by 2018, American troops were still present on European soil. This reality may have disturbed George Kennan too, the farsighted former US ambassador to the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, himself no dove. In 1996 Kennan described NATO expansion eastwards, in continued violation of agreements, as “a strategic blunder of potentially epic proportions”.
Meanwhile, a further critical element in the placing of Soviet missiles in Cuba, was the Kennedy administration’s assaults on the island nation. There was the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961, which ended in a Cuban rout of US-backed forces. Stung by this embarrassment, in January 1962 Kennedy outlined that “the Cuban problem” is “the top priority in the United States government”.
The ensuing Operation Mongoose brought the “terrors of the earth” to Cuba – a quote attributed to Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Kennedy’s top Latin American advisor. In the months before the missile crisis, Cuba was subjected to widescale terrorist attacks directed from America. This included the bombing of Cuban hotels and petrochemical plants, poisoning of crops and livestock, attacks on fishing boats, the tainting of sugar exports, etc.
In March 1962, it was made clear that the assaults were to lead to “final success” which would “require decisive US intervention”. The renewed invasion of Cuba was dated for October 1962 – it is no coincidence that Khrushchev sent his missiles to Cuba during the same month.
As the missile crisis peaked, the world came perilously close to a nuclear war, largely due to Kennedy’s hegemonic policies. This was all concealed from the American public, who were repeatedly informed the blame lay squarely with the USSR and its Cuban ally.
Following the de-escalation in late October, the US immediately recommenced terrorist operations against Cuba. These murderous acts continued for decades in various forms. This included American support for the Cuban exiles, Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch, two of the worst international terrorists of the post-World War II period.
Posada Carriles and Bosch are most infamously remembered for masterminding the 1976 destruction of a Cuban airliner, killing all 73 people aboard. However, the duo were also responsible for countless other terrorist attacks on embassies, consuls, tourist industries, ambassadors, civilians, etc. – not just in Cuba – but across Latin America.
Furthermore, the US continues its blockade of Cuba, which has lasted for more than five decades – despite opposition from virtually the entire world. The embargo was first introduced by Kennedy himself in October 1962.
After visiting Cuba two years ago, then president Barack Obama said he and Raul Castro “continue to have serious differences, including on democracy and human rights”. One could forgive the Cuban leader for being somewhat perplexed by this statement. Not mentioned by Obama was America’s efforts to bring “democracy and human rights” to Cuba, in the form of vicious terrorist assaults and economic strangulation.
Nor did Obama highlight Cuba’s central role in liberating southern Africa from apartheid. South Africa’s racist regime was heavily supported by the US, yet it appears trivial facts such as these are not worthy of mention by Obama, or indeed, the mainstream press.
Since the 1950s, the American record in introducing “human rights” and “freedom” to the world makes something of a mockery of its projected image. Instead, it is Cuba that has long been vilified by Western elites for supposed human rights abuses.
Shane Quinn obtained an honors journalism degree. He is interested in writing primarily on foreign affairs, having been inspired by authors like Noam Chomsky.
Japan PM suspends work on U.S. base in Okinawa
TOKYO – Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday he has decided to temporarily suspend preliminary work on moving a U.S. Marine Corps base on Okinawa and will resume talks on the contentious relocation plan.
The central government and Okinawa’s prefectural government have been locked in a legal battle over relocating the base, with both sides suing the other.
Abe said that his government is accepting a court proposal not to force the reclamation work over Okinawa’s objections. The court in February made the proposal as an interim step allowing talks. Details of the proposal were not made public.
The sudden reversal of his policy to continue with the reclamation work is seen as a vote-buying attempt ahead of this summer’s parliamentary elections.
Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga last year issued an order to suspend permission for the reclamation work. Then the central government sued to reverse the order, to which Okinawa counter-sued, seeking a court injunction.
The work involves filling in part of a bay to create off-coast runways for Futenma air station, which is now in a more densely populated area on the island.
Onaga later flew in to Tokyo and held talks with Abe at his office, both confirming to follow the court proposal and abide by any subsequent court decisions related to their legal dispute. Onaga welcomed Friday’s decision by both sides as “very significant.”
Abe said the plan to eventually move the base to the town of Henoko is unchanged. The relocation is based on a 20-year-old bilateral agreement to reduce the burden of the U.S. military presence on Okinawa.
Opponents want the base moved off Okinawa entirely, and a prospect for a compromise is still unclear, though Okinawa is expected to drop the lawsuit.
Abe said he wants to avoid leaving the situation deadlocked “for years to come, a development that nobody wants to see.”
America’s top military official in the Pacific said last month that the relocation plan has been pushed back by two years until 2025 from the current target, because of delays from the disputes.
The U.S. has agreed to shift 8,000 to 10,000 Marines off Okinawa in the 2020s, mainly to Guam and Hawaii, but Adm. Harry Harris, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, said that would happen after Futenma’s relocation.
The southern island prefecture is home to about half of about 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan under the bilateral security treaty. Many Okinawans complain about crime and noise linked to the U.S. military bases.
‘No U.S. base in Okinawa’ – mass protests against U.S military presence in Japan
This article doesn’t mention that underwater surveys often employ high intensity underwater guns that kill and maim sea life. There was a massive outcry when Pacific Gas and Electric Company wanted to do acoustic seismic testing off the coast of California near its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The California Coastal Commission agreed with the public and stopped it. http://www.stopoceanblasting.org/ 
Posted on Global Research
Thousands have been marching in Okinawa and across Japan in protest against the planned relocation of a US military base in Okinawa. The protesters criticized the Japanese government, who appear to be turning a deaf ear to the locals.
The protests began on Friday with about 1,200 people in Okinawa, as the island marked the 43rd anniversary of its reversion to Japanese sovereignty, and continued into Sunday gathering thousands of people.
“Even after our reversion, the problems of the bases remain unchanged,” Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga said at the protest, adding reversion of sovereignty had failed to bring Okinawans what they wanted.
The activists said the island had seen decades of injustice from US and Japan.
Hyogo Okinawa association of people origination from the same prefecture! http://t.co/8PB9d8wzqu—
(@mamimoe1) May 17, 2015
“We’ve long suffered from the bases, and I’m angered by the outrageousness of both the US and Japanese governments in insisting a new base be built in Henoko,” Fujiko Matsuda, who heads a local citizens’ group, told the Japan Times.
“It is wrong to proceed with the Henoko relocation without listening to the voices of the Okinawans,”said another Okinawa resident, Atsuko Ikeda. “If we don’t prevent it, there is no future for Japan as a democratic nation.”
On Saturday, protestors marched around the US Futenma airbase in Ginowan city in Okinawa. About 2,600 people across Japan from Hokkaido to Nagasaki also took to the streets to voice their disapproval.
The activists shouted slogans, such as: “Oppose enhanced Japan-US defense ties”, “Bring back an Okinawa without US bases”, “The United States has to respect Okinawa people’s will”.
Hyogo Okinawa association of people originating from the same prefecture! http://t.co/41lZR33NPl—
(@moejunko) May 17, 2015
In the northeastern town of Henoko, hundreds of protesters scuffled with police outside new ‘Camp Schwab’. Several demonstrators were detained following the clashes.
On Sunday, about 35,000 people turned out to protest in the prefecture.
“No matter how long it might take, we will never give up our fight until the government gives it up,” said Keiichi Takara, director of the Confederation of Trade Unions Okinawa. “Through the rally, we will reaffirm our resolved commitment.”
再び3万人の決意！「私たちは屈しない」#沖縄県民大会 #沖縄 #辺野古 #savethedugongs bit.ly/1Ov18ov http://t.co/A2rJmYu4Ij—
Greenpeace Japan (@gpjTweet) May 17, 2015
According to mayor of Nago, Susumu Inamine, who opposes US military bases in Okinawa, “the government is thrusting their responsibility on us.”
“The government says we are to blame that the issue has stalled for 19 years and they tell us to find an alternative place (for the base). That’s outrageous,” he shouted into the crowd of protesters.
mikiya itou (@mickey228) May 17, 2015
Marine biologist Katherine Musik said the rally “is absolutely tremendous.” “Tens of thousands of voices, right now, shouting together, ‘NO’, in perfect harmony! ‘NO’ to the US military presence, how powerful! Let’s all shout, ‘Yes’ to the blue corals, red sea fans, orange clownfish, ‘Yes’ to the endangered dugongs in the sea, the endangered birds in the forest!”
The US Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in heavily populated Ginowan city has been a cause of tension between American troops and local residents for years. Okinawa, home to about 1 percent of Japan’s population, hosts nearly half of the 47,000 US troops based in Japan. Tokyo authorities want to shut the base down and open a new one in the more remote town of Henoko, in the center of the southern Japanese island. But the majority of the locals, as well as Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, want the construction of the replacement base to be scrapped.
沖縄野菜 かねこ (@okinawa_yasai) May 17, 2015
沖縄野菜 かねこ (@okinawa_yasai) May 17, 2015
In March, Onaga demanded the underwater survey needed to build an offshore airstrip for the new base be stopped, citing environmental damage.
He met Defense Minister General Nakatani in May for the first time to discuss the relocation plan. They failed, however, to resolve their differences.
all okinawa!! no more base, n i just hope the world peace 🙂 http://t.co/33Y9EvDIR5—
chikichiki (@kochikichiki) May 17, 2015
There is a long history of incidents and alleged crimes committed by US soldiers in Okinawa. The current wave of anti-base sentiment on the island was sparked by a 1995 case, when three US marines were reported to have kidnapped and brutally raped a 12-year-old schoolgirl.
There were also less-publicized sex crime cases involving underage victims reported in 2001 and 2005, the fatal running over of a female high school student by a drunken US marine in 1998, and other crimes.
Stop Henoko! Okinawans protest against US military base expansion, rape of island women, and ocean destruction
RT, April 29, 2015
Interview with Center for Biological Diversity’s Peter Galvin:
If the US military base in Okinawa is relocated to Henoko, the habitat of the endangered Okinawa dugong sea mammal, will be wiped off the map, said Peter Galvin of the Center for Biological diversity. The species is already down to a few dozen, he added.
RT: What is so wrong about the re-location of the US base from an ecological prospective?
Peter Galvin: The organization I work for, The Center for Biological Diversity focuses on the wildlife environmental protection [of] endangered species. Our focus is to protect wildlife and animals and the environment where they are threatened. And in the case of Okinawa we have a situation where there is an endangered marine mammal, the Okinawa dugong – a very, very rare population of dugongs which is kind of like a sea cow, a little bit like a manatee that they have in the US. And these gentle giants of the ocean… there is between 12 and 15 dugongs remaining in Okinawa… They are a critically endangered population and the site of their habitat in Okinawa, the primary habitat is the site that US and Japanese governments want to fill in to expand a military base in Henoko.
READ MORE: ‘Don’t rape the sea!’ Hundreds protest US military base relocation plan in Japan
The base controversy has a strong environmental component to it, as well as folks in Okinawa that are concerned about peace issues, sovereignty issues, and military threat issues. Our focus is environmental issues. In this situation there is a convergence of a variety of issues including environmental issues, peace, Okinawa sovereignty issues – all playing together in one action. It is a very controversial proposal. The base plan would fill in a very rich area of coral reef in a place called Oura Bay which is on the eastern side of Okinawa, north east Okinawa. And it would be just an enormous landfill project into the ocean which has a huge number of people in Okinawa, in Japan, throughout the world up in arms that in this day and age the US and Japanese governments would pay so little heed to the local population, that they would basically just bulldoze over the local opposition and literally bulldoze over the coral reef and fill it in. So the dugong is a desperately endangered marine mammal that we’ve been working to protect for two decades. Our group along with several other groups launched a lawsuit in US Federal Court, a number of years ago to stop this base expansion project. Our case still continues through the court system. But unfortunately, the project is in the beginning phases now. And as you can see there’s a huge amount of controversy in Okinawa over it that is now manifesting.
RT: Could you give examples of how the re-location of the US base to Henoko is harming flora and fauna? We’ve heard about concrete blocks in the ocean. Any other examples?
PG: Literally, you used the word concrete. And yes, as a matter of fact one of the aspects of any kind of project like this is the contractors bore into the ocean at different places to see the strength of the material at the ocean floor. The sound of the drilling, the construction process, and all the ships out there dumping the concrete pilings into the ocean. … Dugongs are herbivores and they feed on sea grass, they graze like a cow… The huge amount of disturbance in the area is causing the dugongs to change their patterns and that’s a risk enough. But here is the real problem: after these boring surveys and the concrete blocks, if the project continues literally millions and millions of tons of soil are brought in and the ocean itself is filled and land is created from the ocean, the coral reef will be entirely decimated, the sea grass in that entire area will be gone. This is the prime feeding habitat for the endangered Okinawa dugong. These species is down to a few dozen individuals and this is its primary habitat. The impact from the base cannot be understated or overstated and will literally wipe this area of the habitat off the map.
‘Don’t rape the sea!’ Hundreds protest US military base relocation plan in Japan
RT, April 28, 2015
About 300 people protested against the planned relocation of a US military base in Japan’s Okinawa prefecture. The rally fell on the 63rd anniversary of the country’s regaining of sovereignty after its defeat in World War II.
The demonstrators gathered on Tuesday, at the gates of the US Marines’ Camp Schwab in the tourist seaside town of Nago, Kyodo news agency reported. The district has been proposed as a relocation site for the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
The participants of the protest chanted slogans such as “we’re opposed to a new base” and “don’t destroy the beautiful sea.”