Global Network Delegation to Okinawa
Just prior to our Global Network conference in Kyoto, Japan a delegation of our folks went to Okinawa for a couple days to show solidarity with the protests (going on for more than 4,000 days) against the US construction of a new Marine base. The base at Henoko will include two aircraft runways that extend out into pristine Oura Bay that is home to precious coral and endangered sea mammals.
There are multiple US military bases on Okinawa and the people (from the grassroots all the way up to town mayors and the governor of the island) are in a state of revolt demanding the bases be closed. At Kadena Air Force Base the US has deployed 'missile defense' systems aimed at China.
GN board convener Dave Webb (England) reports that over 300 blockaded the main gate at Camp Schwab (bottom photo). Nobody tried to get through the gate but soon after the international group left the protest the police moved in to break up the blockade.
It was reported today that the Japanese have declared a one month delay on US base construction at Henoko. Several commentators have remarked that Japan's right-wing Prime Minister Abe "is cornered" as his poll ratings have dropped due to his pushing the unpopular move to get rid of the nation's peaceful Article 9 in their constitution that forbids offensive war preparations. Washington has long been pushing Tokyo to dump Article 9 but in the past month major protests have been held across Japan opposing Abe's attempt to follow US orders to get rid of the restrictions on allowing the military to join with the US in boxing in China.
One must wonder if this move by Abe was due to the approaching attention that will come during global events to remember the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Let's hope that the Japanese peace movement can sustain the pressure on Abe and that international support can build for the campaign to Save Article 9!
Photos from Dave Webb.