A Message from the People of Okinawa and Japan to the People of the United States

September 23, 2011 by  

Okinawan and Japanese peace groups placed an opinion ad on the New York Times website 9/21 – 23 with a message to the people of U.S.

A Message from the People of Okinawa and Japan to the People of the United States

In 1945, during the last days of WWII, the U.S. and the former Japanese Imperial forces fought an intense ground battle in Okinawa, the small island in southwest Japan. The battle claimed 200,000 lives, including many American and Japanese soldiers but also a much larger number of unarmed Okinawan civilians. Ever since, U.S. military forces have occupied Okinawa, using land which was seized from families at gunpoint. Even today, 34 U.S. Military bases and facilities, including 8 Marine Corps bases and 1 Air Force base, still remain in Okinawa. The U.S. closed many bases at home and abroad after the Berlin Wall fell. Although the risks from the Cold War are long gone, U.S. Military bases in Okinawa have remained the same or grown.


The Okinawan people strongly hope for a life in peace without bases, but the U.S. and Japanese government have announced new construction to move the dangerous Futenma to the middle of pristine natural habitat a few miles away in Henoko, Okinawa.

The sea in Henoko is a treasure trove for marine life, where many rare species, including the Okinawan Dugong, live. Dugong, a large marine mammal similar to the manatee, is endangered species and protected by international environmental conventions. It is said that mermaid legend was made based on this lovely animal, which is now in danger of extinction because of the construction plan of the gigantic air base on their ocean.

Okinawan people reject any kind of new base construction which destroys the sea of Dugong and the safety of local families. Every small town and big city mayor in Okinawa oppose this reckless construction plan, and the Okinawan Governor has rejected it. The Okinawan legislature and many municipal councils have adopted resolutions against the plan.

No place in Japan accepts the U.S. Marine bases as the replacement of Futenma Air Station. Please bring the Marines in Okinawa to the U.S. The U.S. respects human rights and democracy. Please hear the Okinawan people’s democratic voice. We hope for peace by dialogue, not by dependence on military power.




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