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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 November 23 - 29  > Japan Peace Conference in Okinawa pledges removal of US Futenma base
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2011 November 23 - 29 [PEACE]

Japan Peace Conference in Okinawa pledges removal of US Futenma base

November 26-28, 2011
About 1,600 anti-base activists, including 16 people from the South Pacific region, on November 25-27 converged on Okinawa’s Naha City to discuss ways to further develop the Asia-Pacific movement to eliminate U.S. military facilities from the region.

During the 2011 Japan Peace Conference, anti-base rallies, workshops, and demonstrations were held.

Participants committed themselves to oppose the Japan-U.S. plan to construct a new U.S. base in Okinawa’s Nago City as an alternative to the U.S. Futenma base in Okinawa’s Ginowan City. They also pledged to make every effort to achieve the unconditional removal of the Futenma base from Japan.

Inamine Susumu, mayor of Nago City where the construction of a new U.S. base is planned, expressed his determination, saying, “I will firmly oppose moves for a new base to be built either on shore or off shore of the city’s Henoko district.”

Foreign delegates at times shouted in Japanese, “Kichi Iranai (No base)!” A Filipino delegate told other delegates about how the Philippines managed to remove the U.S. military bases there. Residents of Guam, to which great part of the U.S. Marines will be relocated from Okinawa, reported on their anti-base activities.

A delegate from Hyogo Prefecture reported on a local residents’ struggle against Japan-U.S. joint military exercises scheduled to take place near a densely-populated city in the prefecture. A delegate from Kagoshima Prefecture spoke of how local islanders are opposing the militarization of Mage Island, a candidate site for a short landing-takeoff practice base for U.S. military aircraft.

A representative of the Kanagawa Peace Committee said that his organization contributed to the success in having unused U.S. military facilities returned to Japan through activities such as usage monitoring and checking power supplies to individual military facilities.

Regarding the possible relocation of the U.S. Futenma base from Okinawa to Guam, some participants said that it would be no problem as far as a U.S. base goes to the U.S. territory. However, Leevin Camacho from Guam said that the common struggle is to eliminate the source of danger, not to transfer it from one place to another. He asked the Japanese participants to also learn about the present situation and colonial history of Guam.

Chisaka Jun, secretary general of the Japan Peace Committee, said that the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly on November 14 unanimously adopted a statement demanding that the central government abandon its plan to compile a final environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the new base construction. “This is the response of rejection from Okinawa!” he shouted.

At an opening session of the Conference, Japanese Communist Party member of House of Representatives Kasai Akira and former mayor of Ginowan City Iha Yoichi gave speeches in support.
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