World academics, peace leaders blast Henoko plan

Opposition to the announced approval of land reclamation, which will lead to creation of a Futenma Replacement Facility at Nago City’s Henoko district, is drawing flak from dozens of writers, artists, international scholars and even a Nobel laureate.

Less than a month after Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima signed the approval for land reclamation to begin in Oura Bay, adjacent to the Marines’ Camp Schwab in northern Okinawa, international figures are speaking out against the decision.  Noted filmmakers Michael Moore and Oliver Stone head the list of opponents to the plan, flanked by Noam Chomsky, a linguist and writer, Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Maguire, and Professor Emeritus John Dower of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

They’ve likened their joint efforts to the American civil rights movement launched decades ago.  The noted scholars have banded together with dozens of other international academicians to issue a statement knocking Nakaima’s agreement.   “Using the lure of economic development, (Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe has extracted approval from Governor Nakaima to reclaim the water off Henoko, to build a massive new U.S. Marine air base with a military port.”   Going a step beyond, the group declares that “Governor Nakaima’s reclamation approval does not reflect the popular will of the people of Okinawa. Immediately before the gubernatorial election of 2010, Nakaima, who had previously accepted the new base construction plan, changed his position and called for relocation of the Futenma base outside the prefecture.”

The newly formed opposition group says their effort is “Not unlike the 20th century U.S. Civil Rights struggle, Okinawans have nonviolently pressed for the end to their military colonization. The prefectural assembly passed resolutions to oppose the Henoko base plan. In January 2013, leaders of all the 41 municipalities of Okinawa signed the petition to the government to remove the newly deployed MV-22 Osprey from Futenma base and to give up the plan to build a replacement base in Okinawa. We support the people of Okinawa in their nonviolent struggle for peace, dignity, human rights and protection of the environment. The Henoko marine base project must be canceled and Futenma returned forthwith to the people of Okinawa.”

Governor Nakaima, after months of considering Tokyo’s request for approval of the massive landfill project, gave the go-ahead in late December.  His decision came only days after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made promises of massive aid to Okinawa extending through 2021.  Tokyo pledged ¥346 billion annually in development monies this year and at least ¥300 billion each year for the next seven.  On top of that, Abe’s administration has committed billions of yen to fund Naha International Airport and the island’s light rail system expansion.

  • Sollory

    Just seeing the name Michael Moore and Oliver Stone should tell the reader that this story is quite silly and even laughable. Noam Chompsky is a staunch socialist, what on earth is this article supposed to prove? That the Okinawan media is full of high school journalists?

    • Smiley Face

      The protestors hurl instults at the military when they drive through the gates…now, I see that the governor has approved a landfill to extend Naha airport. Will the protestors now gather at the entrance to Naha Airport and shout at commercial pilots and tourists on their way to catch a flight? Afterall, they have just as much control over that plan as the military has over the Henoko plan.

  • Sollory

    Also, the US Civil rights struggle is nothing like what is going on here in Okinawa. That is bloody offensive to Americans and quite pretentious.

  • silphy

    I really feel bad for the people in Japan if this really is the news that is pumped out to them on a daily basis. There have to be sources out there that aren’t tabloid like. Every article on Japan Update is like a TMZ article.

    • Smiley Face

      Japan Update is basically just a free publication. Very useful for selling something on classifieds or advertising for your business. I think the articles are pretty much borrowed from other papers. That being said, it’s very difficult to find newspapers in Okinawa that aren’t completely biased.

  • Shaft

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKc-XEr0V9c&feature=youtu.be

    I would like to suggest watching from 18:00 of the video. This may provide a different perspective for everyone.

    In response to those that feel Japan Updates is a biased website, I would like to point out the fact that they are merely stating the facts/news while withholding any opinions of the staff/reporter. It may be perceived as biased due to the unbalanced topics of the articles but due to the limited space of the website, the reporters must choose articles that will find relevance with their audience. Considering the inhabitants of the island, including those having a relationship with the U.S government/bases, what other topics of interest(s) would you like to see?

    • silphy

      Good point. My advice would be to contact the guys at the Okinawa Osprey Fan club who will be more than happy to provide stories which will help balance these negative and often seemingly anti-American reports out. https://www.facebook.com/osprey.fan.club

    • silphy

      Here is another thing too, you have to understand that the things you choose to post, overwhelmingly negative towards the military as they are, are digested by the Americans living here and understood as if 95% of Okinawans hate them and feel like we’re occupiers. This isn’t even true, but if you are not familiar with Japan, Okinawa, and the politics around here, you are quick to buy what you read, especially since JU is utilized by so many in Okinawa and Japan. This is one of our only outlets for news.