Asian Peace Alliance Resolution
STOP CONSTRUCTION OF NEW US. BASE IN OKINAWA
Expansion of bases in Mainland, Japan
Manila, 1 September, 2002
As the US war on terrorism expands, the US bases in Japan are being rapidly reinforced with the support of the Japanese government, endangering the security of the local people and other peoples against whose lives these military based are directed. Also alarming is the rapid remilitarization of Japan particularly by the Koizumi government’s planned introduction of wartime laws (emergency legislation, so called) intended to enable the government to mobilize Japanese people and resources for war situations in outright violation of the Japanese Peace Constitution.
We, gathered here in the Asian Peace Alliance, resolutely protest against and oppose these warlike attempts geared to the US global war needs as well as Japanese conservatives' ambitions to build a war-ready state oblivious to what the Japanese Empire did to the people of the rest of Asia by way of colonialization and wars of aggression. We pay special attention to the US and Japanese governments' project of constructing a new US military base off the shore of Nago in Okinawa. Okinawa is the site of the single major US overseas military base cluster where 75 per cent of the US bases in Japan are located. It is where the people confront US base presence by conducting decades long struggles.
In 1995, the gang-rape of a 12-year old girl by US soldiers anguished Okinawan people who had been already suffering from continual violence by US marines and victimization by the presence of US-base, arousing broad and powerful anti-US base movement.
Fraudulently reacting to this anti-base upsurge, the US and Japanese governments promised to scrap one base, but only in exchange for a new base, much more advanced and effective than the old one. Under the global US war on terrorism, the US-Japanese governments finalized this year a much bigger base plan than earlier suggested, defying strong opposition from Okinawan people and ignoring protests from environmentalists from all over the world as well as peace-minded people. For this base a vast corral reef area is going to be reclaimed depriving rare marine mammal dugongs of their critical habitat. The US bases in Okinawa are already part of the second front of US military operations in the Philippines. Alike warning is the fact that US bases in mainland Japan are also being reinforced. For example, Iwakuni base in Hiroshima Prefecture, the US Air Force base, strategic to the US war plans, is being extended onto the sea area for elongated runways, which again is destroying the local waterweed colony and lagoon known as `The Cradle of Life. The reinforcement mean that the base will stay there forever.
Also in Yokosuka Navy base, where 11 US warships regularly stay, a dock is being lengthened to enable a nuclear aircraft carrier to anchor regularly as a mother port, after the Kitty Hawk Air Craft Carrier retired. Serious effects of pollution around the base such as PCB and other toxic materials has been reported including severe deformation of fish bones. These bases as well as some other bases in Japan are also used for extremely dangerous exercise flights of US war planes at unusually low altitudes across the country, especially over mountain ranges. These operations, while facing affected communities to constant menace of accidents and other dangers, are being conducted to keep the US air force stand-by to make swift deployment to any theater of the US war on terrorism.
The Japanese government, closely collaborating with the Bush administration and taking advantage of the US war, is rapidly remilitarizing the country in outright violation of the peace and non-armament clauses of the Japanese constitution. It is alarming that all this is occurring against the background of the rise of rightwing forces glorifying Japan's imperial past.
On top of sending its naval fleet to the Indian Ocean by legislating an anti-terrorist law, the Koizumi government is adamant on passing a major draconian wartime bill that, if passed, will empower the government to mobilize resources, personnel, land, and services for military operations by the Japanese as well as American military forces.
We are heartened that strong voices of opposition have been raised among the Japanese people and popular movements have spread to get this bill scrapped, forcing the government to postpone the bill's passage to the next session of the Diet (parliament). But full confrontation is coming soon. We hereby express APA's solidarity, and join forces with, the people in Okinawa and mainland Japan in their struggle for the removal of US military bases, prevent Japan's remilitarization, and for peace.
ASIAN PEACE ALLIANCE © COPYRIGHT
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in 2002