Several influential American activists have expressed their solidarity with the residents of Okinawa who are opposed to the planned relocation of the Futenma Air Station to another town in the prefecture. Both the Japanese and US governments are dead set on pushing through and finalizing the relocation plan, despite strong local opposition.
A joint statement was signed by over 100 activists including filmmaker Oliver Stone and documentarian Michael Moore, stating their objection to the building of a new military base in Nago, considered a peaceful residential town in the eastern part of Okinawa. Not unlike the 20th century US civil rights struggle, Okinawans have non-violently pressed for the end to their military colonization. We support the people of Okinawa in their non-violent struggle for peace, dignity, human rights and protection of the environment,” read the statement. It was also signed by prominent modern Japan scholars, Pulitzer Prize winners and several left-wing activists.
The relocation plan was drawn up back in 1996 but has not pushed through due to various objections, the loudest being that the base should be removed from Okinawa altogether. The government says the relocation to Nago is in response to the complaints of residents near the current Futenma air base about the noise and crime brought about by the US armed forces stationed there. The prefecture hosts the bulk of the 47,000-strong US forces in Japan.
Just last month, Okinawa governor Hirokazu Nakaima finally approved the landfill work in Nago after getting a promise from the administration of $2.9 billion in annual aid until 2021. However, they have experienced another setback as just last week, Nago re-elected Mayor Susumu Inamine, who is strongly opposed to the construction of a new military base and has vowed to do everything in his power to stop the plan.
[ via Defense News ]