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PRESS RELEASE

Okinawa Peace Network – Los Angeles Urges Clinton to Remove U.S. Military Bases in Okinawa

G-8 Summit is Opportune Time for Renewed Commitment to Peace in Asia-Pacific Region.

Contact: Martha Matsuoka
matsuoka (at) ucla.edu

LOS ANGELES, CA., July 22, 2000 – The Okinawa Peace Network – Los Angeles issued a statement today urging President Clinton to uphold his commitment to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region by revising the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement to include a specified timeline for the removal of U.S. military bases from Okinawa, Japan, combined with a commitment to freeze development of a new military heliport off the coast of Henoko, a city in Okinawa. The Okinawa Peace Network – Los Angeles additionally urged Clinton to develop a plan for the removal and clean up of military toxics from these bases, and draft safeguards to keep the U.S. military from committing human rights abuses on Okinawans.

Following the recent protests by Okinawans against the U.S. military for the recent molestation of an Okinawan schoolgirl by military personnel on July 3rd and a recent hit and run accident involving military personnel and Okinawan citizens on July 9th, the Okinawa Peace Network – Los Angeles issued a statement supporting the more than 7,000 Okinawans who demonstrated in Ginowan City, Okinawa outside of Futenma Marine Corp Air Station, and the 30,000 people who linked arms to form a human chain around Kadena Air Force base to continue their protests on this issue.

“The Okinawans have lived under the shadow of U.S. military bases for 55 years and we as U.S. citizens have to support them in saying enough is enough,” stated Martha Matsuoka, spokesperson for the Okinawa Peace Network – Los Angeles. “The Okinawan people’s protests show that they have had enough of security strategies that have resulted in violence against women and children, contamination of the environment, and that have retarded the development of a potentially viable local economy.”

The Okinawa Peace Network – Los Angeles further noted that there are 39 U.S. military bases and 26,000 troops in Okinawa, and stressed that the Okinawan people’s demands for an alternative framework of security come from more than half a century of dealing with U.S. military crimes and the presence of military toxics in Okinawa. Since 1972, more than 4,700 crimes have been committed by U.S. troops in Okinawa and military toxics have been linked to increasing numbers of low-birth weight babies and higher incidences of cancer and leukemia in Okinawan adults and children.

The Okinawa Peace Network – Los Angeles is a Southern California area network of U.S. citizens dedicated to the removal of U.S. military bases in Okinawa. Formed in 1995, following the rape of a 12-year old Okinawan school girl by U.S. military personnel, the Okinawa Peace Network – Los Angeles works in conjunction with chapters in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hawaii, and Boston, Massachusetts.

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E-mail the Okinawa Peace Network of Los Angeles at roninred@yahoo.com
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