The YWCA of Japan protests against the Japanese
Government’s actions to force US military base in Okinawa(April 4, 2013)
On 22nd March, the Japanese Government submitted a form applying for permission to landfill the coast of Henoko, Okinawa prefecture, in order to construct a new and highly equipped military base replacing the Futenma Base, “the most dangerous US base in the world” which locates amidst a densely populated city of Ginowan.
YWCA members protesting in front of the Ministry of Defense
Okinawa, the southernmost island prefecture, hosts 74% of the US military bases in Japan, in spite of the fact that the islands consist of less than 1% of the Japanese land. Okinawa suffers constant repetition of accidents and crime cases including sexual assaults caused by US military personnel. However, instead of easing this excessive burden of Okinawa, the Governments of Japan and the U.S. have made an agreement to relocate the base in Futenma by building a new heavily equipped military base in Henoko, which would ruin its environmental riches and the livelihood of local people.
The people of Okinawa have consistently opposed to this plan. Mayors and assemblies of every municipality in Okinawa have demanded the termination of the plan in the joint letter submitted to the Japanese Government in January 2013. Still, the Japanese Government is pushing for the construction without listening to the people of Okinawa.
The YWCA of Japan submitted a letter of protest to the Japanese Government on 25th March, demanding the Government to listen to the people of Okinawa, to negotiate with the US Government for unconditional return of the Futenma base and to take back its landfill application. It is our belief that military bases undermine and endanger the safety and security of women and children, and history has proven that peace cannot be achieved through armament.
The YWCA of Japan continues to stand in solidarity with the struggle of Okinawa.