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Action Alert Regarding the New Henoko Heliport Proposal - July 26, 2005

To the English Speaking Community,

Please take one minute to sign the on-line petition to prevent the construction of a new US military base in Henoko, Okinawa. As Okinawans currently living in the US, supported by Okinawans in Japan and in Okinawa, we collectively oppose any increase in Okinawa's already excessive burden of US military bases. We hope to gather 10,000 signatures by the end of August, 2005 in both English and Japanese language spheres in the US, Japan, and Okinawa. This is the first bilingual, transpacific petition, created by Okinawans that I am aware of. Please help us make it a success by distributing it wide and far to your friends, family, and colleagues.



Annmaria Shimabuku, Cornell University, East Asian Literature PhD Program

Below is from the above URL.



As Okinawans in the US, we are connected by history and current lived experience to the US military presence and Japanese mistreatment of Okinawa. With support from Okinawans in Japan and Okinawa reflected in the endorsement of our initiative we invite you to consider the below and sign our petition to oppose the construction of a new US offshore heliport base in Henoko, Okinawa.

Although the US-Japan Security Alliance stipulates that US military installations can be stationed in Japanese territory, nowhere does it designate Okinawa Prefecture as the specific location for US military bases. However, 75% of all US military bases are stationed in Okinawa, even though it makes up only 0.6% of total Japanese territory. The assumption that bases should be stationed in Okinawa given geographic and strategic military considerations has been repeatedly refuted. Therefore, this grossly disproportionate concentration of US military bases in Okinawa is abnormal.

Ten years ago in 1995, 85,000 Okinawans gathered to protest the overwhelming US military presence in Okinawa. The US and Japanese governments have since promised a “reduction of burden.” Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has stated he does not want US military bases where they are not welcomed. Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro has stated Japan needs to relocate US military bases to Japan proper in order to reduce Okinawa’s burden. Currently, a realignment of the US military is under discussion between the US and Japan. Decisions will be made at a summit late in the summer of 2005 to determine the fate of Henoko along the concrete results of the promise to reduce Okinawa's burden. As Okinawan Governor Inamine Keiichi states, this is “an ideal opportunity to drastically cut the excessive burdens that Okinawans have been forced to put up with.”

Therefore, we invite you to sign our below petition to oppose the construction of a heliport base in Henoko.



US Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
US Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
Tel: (703) 695-5261
Fax: (703) 697-9080

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
US Department of State
2201 C Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: (202) 647-4000
Fax: (202) 647-2282

Japan Foreign Minister Machimura Nobutaka
Room 417
2-2-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-8981 Japan
Tel: 81-3-3581-5111
Fax: 81-3-3502-5061

Japan Minister of State for Defense Ohno Yoshinori
Room 432, 1st Members’ Office Building
2-2-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-8981, Japan
Tel: 81-3-3508-7132
Fax: 81-3-3502-5870

Dear Secretaries Rumsfeld and Rice, Ministers Machimura and Ohno,

We understand that you will meet late this summer of 2005 to discuss the proposal to construct an offshore heliport base in Henoko, Okinawa, and will reveal the outcome of promises to reduce the burden of US military bases in Okinawa. We further understand that you are representing the respective governments at the table of this summit.

We are now writing to urge you to abandon the proposal to construct another military installation in Okinawa for the following reasons:

1.) Construction would not lead to the promised “reduction of burden” of US military bases in Okinawa, but would rather reinforce that burden.

2.) The overwhelming majority of local residents in Nago City, where Henoko is located, voted against construction of the heliport base in a referendum on December 21, 1997. Furthermore, Okinawans have made their opposition explicit through an on-going sit in at the proposed site for over one year. To carry on with the construction, therefore, would undermine local democratic principles and decision- making processes.

3.) Construction would destroy one of Okinawa’s last healthy coral reefs, and lead to the extinction of the Okinawa dugong, classified as “critically endangered” on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species, and listed as endangered under the US Endangered Species Act, as well as a significant traditional cultural icon for the Okinawan people, protected under Japanese, US and international law for its cultural value.

Again, we, the undersigned, urge you to permanently and publicly abandon the Henoko Bay heliport proposal during bilateral security meetings this summer.






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