Contact: Martha Matsuoka (310) 837-7546; matsuoka (at) ucla.edu
On Saturday, October 3 a 12-member delegation of women from Okinawa, Japan will arrive in Los Angeles to begin their second Okinawa Women's Peace Caravan, a three-city trip to raise public awareness of the impact of U.S. military bases in Okinawa and the Pacific.
Okinawa Prefecture, a set of islands in southern Japan, composes only .6% of the total land area of Japan, yet it bears the burden of 75% of the total US military presence in Japan. Since World War II, the Okinawan people have suffered through 27 years of direct US military control and 23 years of unjust treatment under the Japanese government. The militarization of Okinawa has violated the human, economic, and environmental rights of its people through acts of military drills, aircraft accidents, high level noise pollution, environmental degradation, and crimes committed by US military personnel. In addition, foreign and domestic policies such as status of forces agreements and domestic spending policies in the US as well as Japan, have supported the ongoing militarization of Okinawa and the violation of these human rights, particularly for women and children both in Japan and in the US
The Los Angeles stop is the first on their way to participate in the second annual East-Asia Women's Network against US Militarization to be held in Washington D.C. The first Caravan traveled to the US in February 1996 following the rape of the 12-year old girl by 3 US GI's in Okinawa. The group traveled to San Francisco, Boston, New York and Honolulu. This will be their first visit to Los Angeles.
The delegation includes teachers, local government representatives, youth and community organizers who are focused on the impact of militarization on women and children in the four key areas: 1) violence against women, including domestic abuse, rape, and prostitution; 2) environmental impacts, including the cleanup of US bases in Okinawa and the public health impacts of toxics; 3) Amerasian children; and 4) Status of Forces Agreements and Treaties that determine the scope and scale of US military presence in Okinawa. A list of delegates is attached.
The delegation includes teachers, local government representatives, youth and community organizers who are focused on the impact of militarization on women and children in the four key areas: 1) violence against women, including domestic abuse, rape, and prostitution; 2) environmental impacts, including the cleanup of US bases in Okinawa and the public health impacts of toxics; 3) Amerasian children; and 4) Status of Forces Agreements and Treaties that determine the scope and scale of US military presence in Okinawa. A list of delegates is attached. In order to raise public awareness of the issues of militarization in Okinawa, the delegates will be meeting with elected officials and community organizations as well as visiting local community development projects and talking with community residents about the cleanup and redevelopment processes at closing military facilities in the US Three public events are being planned:
Okinawa Women's Peace Caravan 1998 Delegation Members
(as of 9/1/98)
1. Takazato Suzuyo (group leader, Naha City assemblywoman, co-chair, Okinawa Women Act, Beijing Conference and 1996 Peace Caravan)
2. Toguchi Sumiko (General Secretary, Prefectural Federation of Women's Organizations, government-designated environmental counselor, member of Beijing and 1996 Peace Caravan)
3. Ginoza Eiko (high school English teacher and active peace educator, 1996 Peace Caravan)
4. Kina (formerly Tengan) Mayumi (co-organizer of Young Voice, Ryudai graduate student in Political Science and Women's studies, member of Beijing Conference group and 1996 US Peace Caravan, special interest in sexual violence and young women who date GIs and how they are perceived)
5. Karimata Nobuko (director of prefecture women's center, former teacher's union leader) (There is a possibility she may not be able to join the LA portion of the schedule)
6. Kawakami Mutsuko (member of Beijing Conference group, CO-organizer of Young Voice, and prefectural employee who formerly worked in the Governor's office and current working in the prefectural Women's Office.)
7. Ishikawa Yoshiko (only woman member on Ginowan City assembly, running for 3rd term in September 13 election)
8. Asato Eiko (freelance writer)
9. Mashiki Tomi (leader of the Nago City women's anti-heliport movement - she is expecting a difficult birth of a grandchild at that time. Should she not go, another woman from that group would replace her.)
10. Miyagi Harumi. (Naha city employee; head of a 10-year women's history project)
11. Ginowan resident involved in organizing on the heliport issue.
12. Carolyn Francis (United Methodist missionary, teacher at Okinawa Christian Junior College, Beijing and 1996 Peace Caravan)
13. Possible reporter from one of the large Okinawa newspapers.