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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 October 22 - 29  > US labor union visits Okinawa to learn about anti-US base movements
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2019 October 22 - 29 TOP3 [POLITICS]

US labor union visits Okinawa to learn about anti-US base movements

October 23 and 24, 2019

Seven officers of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) recently traveled around Okinawa to better understand Okinawans’ anti-U.S. base struggle. During their stay, they visited the Henoko coastal area where a sit-in protest against the U.S. base construction continues and held a meeting with the governor in the prefectural capital city of Naha.

The APALA is the only national organization of Asian American and Pacific islander workers in the U.S., according to its official website. It has more than 20 chapters nationwide and seeks to address the workplace issues of the 660,000 union members.

The APALA in its conventions in 2017 and 2019 adopted a resolution to express its opposition to the U.S. base project in Henoko in solidarity with Okinawans’ anti-base movement.

The APALA officers arrived in Okinawa on October 19. On the second day of their visit, they went to the Henoko district to meet with local protesters staging a sit-in near the gate of U.S. Camp Schwab next to the base construction site. After the meeting, APALA President Monica Thammarath said that Henoko protesters’ campaign has similarities to APALA’s struggle.

On the following day, the seven APALA officers had a talk with Okinawa Governor Tamaki Denny in the prefectural office building in Naha City. After the talk, Kent Wong, who is a founder of the union, said to the press that they had a productive and friendly meeting with the governor. He also said that during their visit, they obtained better understanding of how U.S. bases in Okinawa are adversely affecting local residents. He expressed his hope that the APALA will share the experience with local communities, trade unions, and lawmakers in the U.S.

Past related articles:
> Asian American union adopts resolution opposing US base construction in Okinawa [August 21, 2017]
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