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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 November 26 - December 2  > Okinawa legislature adopts unanimous resolution: ‘Give us back our waters!’
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2008 November 26 - December 2 [OKINAWA]

Okinawa legislature adopts unanimous resolution: ‘Give us back our waters!’

November 29, 2008
The Okinawa Prefectural Assembly on November 28 adopted a unanimous resolution calling for the return of U.S. Torishima and Kumejima live-fire ranges and a part of the U.S. exercise site known as “Area Hotel Hotel.”

The resolution demands their return in order to preserve the rich fishing grounds for bonito, tuna, and sode-ika squid and to secure safe fishing operations.

The resolution points out that live-shell firing exercises over the years by U.S. forces have mangled Torishima Island beyond recognition, and warns about the negative long-term impact that depleted uranium shells have on the environment.

It also points out that despite the recent upsurge in oil prices, fishermen are forced to take a roundabout route to avoid the waters used as a U.S. training area.

There are 49 designated waters in Japan that the government provides as exercise sites for U.S. forces, of which 29 are located in Okinawa. Many of these are integrated with live-fire training airspaces.

The government allows the fishermen to fish in the training waters when the U.S. military exercises are not taking place. However, fishing there is virtually impossible because the exercises take place almost every day.

Sometimes, the U.S. forces try to harass the fishermen fishing there with helicopters circling overhead, and such accidents as plane crashes and bombing errors have occurred in succession in the surrounding sea areas.

“Give our water rights back to Okinawa!” This is what the fishermen in Okinawa all want.

Due to fervent requests from the Okinawan fishermen, the Japanese Communist Party had taken up this issue at prefectural assembly sessions and at negotiations with the government, contributing to the adoption of the resolution at this time.
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