Recent News from the Hawai'i Okinawa Alliance - April 27, 2007
April 27, 2007
Today the Hawai‘i Okinawa Alliance and a number of groups in Honolulu held a solidarity action for Henoko at the Japanese Consulate in Honolulu.
We held signs and picketed in front of the Consulate. We made one giant sign cut out in the shape of a Dugong with the words: “Peace for Okinawa, Nuchi du takara (all life is a treasure), Save the Dugong and No U.S. Military Bases”.
Several weeks ago, we had requested a meeting with the Consul General and the consultative document prepared by the Japanese Defense Facilities Administration Bureau describing the activities of the pre-survey and survey for construction of the U.S. military base expansion at Henoko. The Consulate denied both requests.
So we showed up in person and requested to meet the consulate staff. This time Yamada-san came out to talk with us. They tried to shoo us off their property, but we maintained that we had official business and stood our ground. Yamada offered to meet with two persons inside, away from the media, but we said that we would like everyone to hear and participate in the discussion. He seemed quite shaken by the action. Last time we tried to talk with them, they were quite dismissive of our small delegation. We told them at that time that we were offended by the lack of respect and that “We’ll be back.”
We read the message to Prime Minister Abe aloud and handed it to Yamada to deliver to the Japanese national government.
Yamada said he would convey our message to the government. We asked when we might hear a reply, but he was noncommittal. I gave him a red ribbon as he left.
Then, on cue, everyone fanned out in the parking area and began tying hundreds of red ribbons inscribed with solidarity and peace messages onto the consulate fence. The security guard scurried around in vain to try to stop us but soon the fence was aflutter with red messages of resistance, solidarity and hope. We told them that these were prayers for peace and that the red color referred to the red card in soccer signifying that the player is out of the came. We told them to convey these to the Japanese government as well.
Mahalo to AFSC Hawai‘i, DMZ-Hawai ‘i / Aloha ‘Aina, Anakbayan - Honolulu, Not In Our Name Hawai’i, Kapakaukau, Save UH / Stop UARC coalition, the Korea Truth Commission in Hawai’i, and the Hawai’i People’s Fund, all of whom helped organize and sent representatives to the action.
In addition to a television station, a reporter from the Okinawa Times was there to do a story.
Below is our message to Prime Minister Abe.
April 27, 2007
Prime Minister of
Japan Shinzo Abe
Dear Prime Minister Abe
This is an urgent appeal from Okinawa’s friends in Hawai‘i to the government of Japan calling for an immediate halt to the expansion of the U.S. military base in Henoko, Okinawa. We are shocked and outraged that the Japanese government has begun the marine survey for construction around Henoko Point despite the overwhelming opposition of the local residents.
We call on the Japanese government to respect the human rights of the people of Okinawa and immediately cease all activities related to the expansion of the U.S. military base in Henoko.
On April 18, 2007, we requested the consultative document submitted by the Japanese Defense Facilities Administration Bureau to the Okinawa Prefecture government regarding the marine survey. To date, the Japanese government has refused to release these documents that are essential to understanding the impacts of the project.
Instead the consulate staff told us to submit a freedom of information request, which is simply ridiculous. The project would be too far along, or even completed when, and if we ever received the documents. The fact that these plans have been made in secret without public review or input demonstrates contempt for the residents of Henoko.
We demand that all plans related to the military base expansion in Henoko be made public and that the Okinawan people be given decision making powers over those matters that will affect them.
Furthermore, our Chamoru brothers and sisters on Guam will be devastated by the proposed relocation of U.S. troops to their island. We demand that Japan not support or pay for the relocation of U.S. troops to Guam.
The dangerous remilitarization of Japan and the submission of the Japanese government to the demands of the U.S. military will forever be a mark of shame and dishonor on Japan in the eyes of the world. We urge you to choose the path of peace and to heed the Okinawan proverb: “Nuchi du takara” - Life is most precious.
The Hawai‘i Okinawa Alliance