Photos from http://takae.ti-da.net/ (Report from Yanbaru Higashi-son, Takae)
Over 100 workers rushed in from 6am to bring bags of gravel into the planned sites. It was a surprise attack in the early morning, thus the number of protesters were fewer than usual. The Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) expanded the number of the crew, many younger workers are seen. The protesters say that the newly hired workers are being provocative to protesters and there seem to have been rough scenes between the two groups. This is one of the tragedies of the military expansion, that local Okinawans are often forced to be divided into two enemy groups.
This crisis in Takae needs attention from outside. Please take a moment to let the word out to your local media and your friends and people who care, and people who simply are not informed of this violence. Again, the situation in summery is: Japan Defense Ministry is forcing the construction of new US military helipads in the abundant forests of northern Okinawa. It is in the middle of the irreplaceable habitat area of many endangered species. Not only the plan never met with local residents’ consent, but some helipads are planned to be built very close to the residential area and schools. The local residents, along with their supporters, have continued their sit-in protest to stop the construction for nearly 4 years.
US-based NGO “Close The Base” released a statement regarding US military base in Okinawa (in English and Japanese). PLEASE CHECK THIS LINK because it’s very very informative, and please also spread the word. In any small way that you can do.
Forwarded from: Citizen’s Network for Biological Diversity in Okinawa
A great summery of the situation surrounding Takae since February 2011, and further background information on US bases in Okinawa.
Please utilize the contact list of authorities, including the local Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) that’s conducting the violent construction in Takae every day. A phone call to ODB I made recently suggested that they are becoming even more one-sided and stubborn defending themselves and criticizing the protesters. The representative that I spoke to clearly showed me his ignorance on the situation and indifference to the local residents; he insisted (as if he was preaching me who is from outside Okinawa) that he never had problems living next to the US base. He certainly lives and works in a safe noise-proof building.
Today’s NEO DADAKKO “NO USAGI”
In the world where we got so many problems, we tend to hear many voices like: “well, the situation will not change after all” or “there’s nothing can be done to change the reality.” We also tend not to get encouraged to ask why this is bad or why that needs to change. Unless you are bookmarking alternative news resources or following public intellectuals on twitter, it seems, you can’t get informed of “important matters”. Whether or not it is the case, what we need to do is quite simple, as the wonderful people from Egypt showed us. This historical event was achieved by ordinary people going out in the streets to fight for their rights. Even though Twitter and Facebook are accounted to have been a “help” in the Egyptian revolution, what mattered eventually was people that came out to the streets, didn’t go back inside their doors until their “NO” was heard correctly.
Okinawan people and their supporters are outside and voicing their NO as well. For quite a long time now. They never stopped saying NO since 2007. Why on the earth would you want to live next to a helicopter landing zone, Why would you wanna walk just underneath a helicopter that might crash on your house, or on your kids’ school?
A short documentary film “Message from Yanbaru” (2007) shows a crucial protest against destruction of our basic right to live. The first few minutes into the film show the rich natural environment Yanbaru boasts of, the area where new US helipads are being built.
The northern part of Okinawa’s main island, surrounded by abundant forests, is called “YANBARU”. The irreplaceable habitat area of endangered spicies, many of which are listed in the Red Data like NOGUCHI GERA (woodpecker), and YANBARU KUINA (rail). There’s also a valuable water reservoirs, which provide 60% of city water on the entire island. Local District TAKAE is located in the middle of such YANBARU.
Takae is a small district with population of 150, 20 % of which are children under 15 years old.
Takae residents surely live surrounded by such beautiful nature. In the film children run about cheerfully and the grandpa feeds his goats their favorite mulberry leaves. Their life suddenly changes in the summer of 2007 when Japan and US began bringing on a construction of 6 new helipads that are closely located to residential houses, the community center and schools in Takae. They soon start their sit-in protest, forming human chains and having talks with the local Defence Agency workers, many of who are also Okinawans. One manager from the Agency in the film cannot even help showing his sympathy to protesters’ calls. He probably is an Okinawan also. Naturally the Agency must have thought the manager was too soft, and now assigns a new guy who acts much more aggressive on people.
After the police intervenes and the Agency finally stops their aggressive operation, Mr. Teruo Ohnishi, a former schoolteacher, starts a conversation with the Agency personnel. This actually doesn’t sound like a conversation, since the Agency guys just stand there speechless. Mr. Ohnishi’s story is a message to all of us. Because we all need to know how the whole movement originates to a long history of oppression in Okinawa. Mr Ohnishi mentions how rapes on girls are caused by US soldiers, and how, for dacades, human life is not permitted in large part of the Okinawan land because of the presence of US military. His message tells us how the Takae protest springs out from a very basic account of human rights.
The film “Message fom Yanbaru” will soon be available with English subtitles. Please check back for updates.
NEO DADAKKO (Yukiko Harada) made 7 wallpapers for Takae,
Dress your desktop in solidarity.
2/11 was a holiday in Japan and there was no construction in Takae.
It’s time like this we can sit back and think about what we can do for Takae.
Please spare a few minutes to do it. Easy!
all by Yukiko Harada
translated from: Henoko Hamatsuushin http://henoko.ti-da.net/e3275917.html
So the workers from Okinawa Defense Bureau left for home, saying “we’ll be back everyday from tomorrow on!”
February will be a big turning point for them since they won’t be able to work on anything from March*.
To save face as a bureaucrat.
To be obsequious to the power of United States
To make a souvenir for our PM (Naoto Kan) to bring to US on his visit
To show some decency to their head office…
The workers of Okinawa Defense Bureau are desperately doing their job.
Please think of your ideas and support each other’s where you can, in order to send as many people as possible to Takae.
Our only way of resistance is that somebody is always there to watch it happen and that people be tied together.
Please be a witness of the way our government kicks about its own people for the sake of United States, and please spread your ideas and thoughts nationwide… Please help us.
*: Any construction in the forest of Takae will be legally prohibited since wildlife start their breeding season.)
Because the residents of Takae will face a life-threatning environment everyday if Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) build new helipads for the US military. The planned construction sites are as near as 400 meters (0.25 mile) to residential houses.
Because the northern forests of Yanbaru boasts such a beautiful wild life and major water resources for Okinawa, and the new helipads will destroy it.
Because the current Japanese ruling party HAD PROMISED to the entire Japan “a reduction of burden” that the presence of US bases has been causing the Okinawan people since the end of WWII, and this new construction is clearly the opposite.
Because the military bases will send troops overseas to kill, and Okinawa has to shoulder the big role of supporting the ever present US militarism on behalf of Japanese government who just wants to stay under the big American umbrella.
Because the above fact is not really a huge matter to US right now, according to this NY Times article.
Many more reasons to fight this nonsense. Not only the Takae residents or other Okinawan are the victims, but the bases are a huge burden on OBD workers too. The presence of US bases are causing a huge division among Okinawan people. All because of Japan/US treaty, mutual relations to help prepare for wars. Do you still want to be a part of their killing plan?
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